Born in post-war Birmingham, but raised in the Skagit River Valley of Washington, Wolff detailed his childhood in the memoir This Boy's Life (1989) which was made into a film starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert DeNiro and Ellen Barkin. His subsequent memoir, In Pharaoh's Army (1994) records his 1967 tour of duty in Vietnam.
Wolff attended the Hill School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania and, after four years in the U. S. Army, earned a degree in English from Hertford College, Oxford (1972). He went on to receive an M.A. from Stanford. Early in his writing career he spent time as a journalist for the Washington Post. In 1975, he was awarded a Wallace Stegner Fellowship in Creative Writing at Stanford. Wolff's mother, having settled in Washington DC, eventually became president of the League of Women Voters.
Wolff's 1984 novella The Barracks Thief won the 1985 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.
Wolff is the Ward W. and Priscilla B. Woods Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences at Stanford, where he has taught classes in English and creative writing since 1997. He also served as the director of the Creative Writing Program at Stanford from 2000 to 2002. Prior to that, Wolff taught for some time at Syracuse University.
Tobias Wolff is married and has three children. His older brother Geoffrey (born in Los Angeles) is also an author and professor.
- Ugly Rumours (1975), a novel.
- In the Garden of the North American Martyr (1981), a collection of short stories.
- The Barracks Thief (1984), a novella.
- Back in the World (1985), a collection of short stories.
- This Boy's Life (1989), a memoir, later made into a film.
- Best American Short Stories (1994), editor.
- The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Short Stories (1994), editor.
- In Pharaoh's Army (1994), a memoir about his experiences as a soldier in the Vietnam War.
- The Night in Question (1997), a collection of short stories.
- Old School (2003), a novel about a student attending an elite boarding school.
- "Tobias Wolff." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 10 Mar 2006, 01:49 UTC. 4 Apr 2006, 18:47 .
- Tobias Wolff, Faculty Bio from the Stanford Creative Writing Program
- Two audio interviews of Tobias Wolff (1985, 1989) by Don Swaim of CBS Radio, RealAudio
- Stifled Truth An appreciation by Wyatt Mason in the London Review of Books.