- NAME: John Irving
- OCCUPATION: Educator, Author
- BIRTH DATE: March 02, 1942 (Age: 72)
- EDUCATION: Phillips Exeter Academy, University of Pittsburgh, University of Vienna, University of New Hampshire, University of Iowa
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Exeter, New Hampshire
- Full Name: John Winslow Irving
- AKA: John Irving
- ZODIAC SIGN: Pisces
Best Known For
Award-winning, bestselling American novelist John Irving is known for works like The Cider House Rules and The World According to Garp.
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Born on March 2, 1942 in Exeter, New Hampshire, John Irving pursued wrestling and worked as a teacher before shooting to fame with his bestselling 1978 novel, The World According to Garp, which won the National Book Award. He later crafted the 1985 novel The Cider House Rules, for which he also wrote the screenplay adaption, winning an Oscar for his efforts. He's crafted many other novels, including A Prayer for Owen Meany and The Fourth Hand, and two memoirs.
"Many of my wrestling friends find it odd that I'm a writer, just as many of my writer friends in the writing world find it odd that I was—for so many years—a wrestler and wrestling coach. But they seem very similar to me. In both cases you have to be devoted to tireless repetition and small details."
"People have commented—sometimes with irritation, sometimes nicely—on the amount of foreshadow that there is in my novel. Well, yeah, it's not that hard to foreshadow what's coming when you know what's coming. When you are writing to—as I do—a pre-determined ending, I begin my novels knowing what happens. I write endings first. I write last sentences—sometimes last paragraphs—first. I know where I am going. I write collision course stories."
"... my earliest sexual experiences—more important, my earliest sexual imaginings—taught me that sexual desire is mutable."
Born on March 2, 1942 in Exeter, New Hampshire, John Irving was raised by his biological mother and stepfather, who was a Russian history teacher at Phillips Exeter Academy. Irving attended Exeter as well, and during his teens took up wrestling, in which he would compete for 20 years. When he was 15, Irving read Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, which had a profound effect on his life and inspired much of his future writing.
Irving studied as an undergrad at the University of New Hampshire, and went on to earn an Master of Fine Arts degree at the University of Iowa, studying fiction and graduating in 1967. He published his first book, Setting Free the Bears, in 1968, and taught at the University of Iowa and Mount Holyoke through the '70s, while continuing to write and publish novels like The Water-Method Man and The 178-Pound Marriage.
Irving hit it big when his fourth novel, The World According to Garp, was released in 1978, going on to hit the bestsellers lists for several months and win the National Book Award in 1980. Garp was eventually adapted into a 1982 film starring Robin Williams, Glenn Close, John Lithgow and Mary Beth Hurt, with Close and Lithgow being nominated for Oscars for their performances. Irving continued to write, with The Hotel New Hampshire being published in 1981; he received an O. Henry Award for his short story, "Interior Space," the same year. In 1985, Irving's acclaimed The Cider House Rules was released. The story, which follows an orphan who never gets adopted and a doctor who oversees his maturation, became another bestseller.
Over a long period of time, Irving eventually adapted the novel into a film of the same name where he had director and casting approval. The Cider House Rules film—released in late 1999, directed by Lasse Hallström, and starring Tobey Maguire, Michael Caine and Charlize Theron—became a box office hit and earned seven Academy Award nominations. Caine won an Oscar for best supporting actor and Irving for best adapted screenplay. Irving also captured his time as a Hollywood writer in his memoir My Movie Business.
During the Cider House film journey, Irving continued to write and released during the late '80s and '90s the novels A Prayer for Owen Meaney, A Son of the Circus and A Widow for One Year, as well as the memoir The Imaginary Girlfriend. Owen Meaney went on to become yet another adaptation for the big screen, a film titled Simon Birch, starring Ashley Judd and Ian Michael Smith. Irving was also inducted in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1992.
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