Creative-writing instructor Dick Wimmer's best lesson for would-be authors may have had more to do with persistence than prose.

His first novel, Irish Wine, was published in 1989 after being turned down by publishers and agents 162 times over 25 years. He once claimed to be history's most-rejected published novelist.

At the time, his closest official competition was Steven Goldberg's The Inevitability of Patriarchy, which sold after 69 rejections, the Guinness Book of World Records said in 1989.

Mr. Wimmer, who also edited books about sports, died unexpectedly May 18 at his Agoura Hills, Calif., home of heart complications, said his son Geordie. He was 74.

"I don't want it to be a freak of fiction," Mr. Wimmer told the Los Angeles Times in 1989 of Irish Wine. "I would like the book to hold up on its own merits."

It did.

The New York Times raved about the book the year it came out, calling it a "taut, finely written, exhaustingly exuberant first novel."

Irish Wine tells the tale of a reunion between a brash Irish painter, Seamus Boyne, and a would-be writer from America. Two sequels followed, the well-reviewed 1998 comic novel Boyne's Lassie and Hagar's Dream.

- Los Angeles Times