Norwood Holland was born in Washington, DC and grew up in suburban Gum Springs the historically black enclave in Fairfax County once apart of the Mount Vernon plantation then willed to George Washington’s slaves and their descendants. Holland traces both maternal and paternal lineages to Washington’s slaves. During the post Brown vs. Board of Education desegregation transition he attended the County’s segregated Drew-Smith Elementary School named after the pioneering African American physician Dr. Charles Drew and 19th Century Gum Springs resident and educator Annie Smith. Holland credits his early childhood reading and education with inspiring the name of his fictional character Drew Smith.
Desegregation was complete by the time he entered the County’s Fort Hunt High School. There he witnessed limited social and extra-curricular opportunities for blacks and sought out the historically black college experience entering Fisk University. There he majored in English and Education studying under the late Harlem Renaissance writer Arna Bontemps. Holland graduated a member of Lambda Iota Tau International Literature Honor Society in 1973. After graduation he worked briefly with the Graduate School, USDA counseling military veterans and foreign students before enrolling at Howard University School of Law receiving a Juris Doctor in 1978.
He has served in several government agencies including the National Labor Relations Board and a number of Washington’s top national law firms. In the mid 90s Holland began freelancing for the local media. In 2008 The Writer Magazine published his How I Write profile of local best selling novelist George Pelacanos. He currently writes a column as the Libraries Examiner for Examiner.com and reviews books for Black Literature Magazine.
Holland identifies with Pelacanos’ writing style and hometown setting also adopting the same hardboiled noir fiction genre. For the past 10 years Holland has devoted much of his writing to completing the 4 volume Drew Smith series. He launches the series with the publication of Sleepless Nights, where the practicing attorney/bon vivant keeps it real both at work and play.
Holland currently blogs at editorialindpendence.com . More information on Sleepless Nights is available at SleeplessNightsNovel.com and his web site Norwood Holland.com.