CountyPrince George's County
Artist StatementMy novels are entertaining stories that include themes of war and peace, racial equality, gender equality, residential segregation, and struggles between religions.
Richard Morris began writing novels after working in the housing industry for thirty years. His first book, Cologne No. 10 For Men, is a Vietnam War satire that has been compared to Catch-22 and M.A.S.H. It's based on his experiences as a rifle platoon leader in Vietnam. Writer’s Digest calls it a “superb novel of the Vietnam War,” and in 2013 the Vietnam Veterans of America reviewer David Willson said, “There aren’t very many funny Vietnam War infantry books. This is one of them. Read it and be amazed.” Two copies have been placed in the Naval Academy Library.
Well Considered, his second novel, is a thriller that takes place in Maryland. Robert Fleming of the African American Literature Book Club calls it “A profoundly memorable and affecting novel,” and Kirkus describes it as “a sensitive study of race and history in the American South” and “a multilayered thriller.” The Prince George’s County Historical Society has included a copy of it in their library in Greenbelt.
His third, Canoedling in Cleveland, is a young adult novel set in Morris’s home town of Cleveland. In it, teens canoe the polluted waters around the city in the summer of 1960 and confront racial segregation. One reviewer describes it as a coming-of-age novel that is “as timeless as Huckleberry Finn.” Cuyahoga County Public Library and Prince George's County Public Library have placed copies in their collections.
Masjid Morning incorporates Morris's many years of construction, codes, and zoning experience into an interfaith romance which, according to homebuilder Jay Endelman, "moves effortlessly between technical descriptions of a mosque rising from the ground like a living being and the emotional struggles between religions." Masjid Morning was the winner of the Fiction-Romance category of the 2017 Bookvana Awards and was a finalist in the Fiction-Romance category of the 2017 International Book Awards.
When Richard Morris died suddenly on November 21, 2017, he had begun his fifth “social justice” novel during the span of a ten-year retirement from his career in the building industry. In addition to the novels, he wrote over two hundred blog posts (www.richardmorrisauthor.wordpress.com/blog) on writing and the promotion of writing, as well as the social justice issues which propelled his stories. At the time of his death, Morris had just completed blog posts related to the Ken Burns and Lynn Novick series on The Vietnam War in which he reviewed each episode, described how his own life fit into the narrative, and commented upon how he and the country had both been on “The Wrong Side of History.” This brought his writing full circle from when he commenced it with a funny but heartrending Cologne No. 10 for Men, which satirized the use of the body count as a means of determining whether your side is winning a war.
In hindsight it may be noted that ten times in his blog posts, Morris wrote about Agent Orange as one of the many lingering tragedies of the Vietnam war. But he never linked to his own narratives that Agent Orange was the presumptive cause of the cancer which had caused his retirement. This was also the cancer that led to an emergency surgery that ended with complications and his death. As part of his writings about war, Morris also produced a CD, Skytroopers: Songs of war, peace, and love from Vietnam (www.cdbaby.com/cd/RichardMorris) of nineteen songs he wrote while serving as a rifle platoon leader with the First Cavalry (Airmobile) Division in Vietnam.