Born and raised in Greenup County, Kentucky, Stuart relied heavily on the rural locale of Northeastern Kentucky Southwestern Ohio for his writings. He primarily wrote for the adult audience but he did contribute to Appalachian children’s literature as well. He attended Lincoln Memorial University and Vanderbilt University. He was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a nominee for the Pulitzer. He traveled worldwide before becoming an educator and an administrator. The theme of education can be noted in many of his titles. Indeed, he said that most of his stories were elaborations of true incidents that he observed or had heard about. In 1954 Stuart was named Poet Laureate of Kentucky.