Monday, March 2, 2015

John Updike - Biography

John Updike (1932-2009)

v     John Updike was a writer, poet, and critic. He wrote over twenty novels, twelve short story collections, and eight volumes of poetry.

v     Updike wrote mostly about middle-class people from small towns, and the problems they faced - crises of religion, family, and infidelity.

v      Updike is most famous for his series of five novels about the life of Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom, from his adolescence all the way to his old age and death.

v     Both Rabbit Is Rich and Rabbit At Rest won the Pulitzer Prize.

v     Updike also won a national book award for Rabbit is Rich and the novel Centaur.

v     Other awards include three National Book Critics Circle awards, a National Medal of Arts and a National Humanities Medal. He also appeared twice on the cover of Time Magazine.

Personal Life:

John grew up in Shilington, a small town in Pennsylvania. His mother was a writer, although not so successful. He was a brilliant student. He was class valedictorian and class president, and went to Harvard with a full scholarship. He graduated summa cum laude and was also president of the Harvard Lampoon, a humour magazine. John also married while at Harvard, to Mary Pennington, an art student. The young couple then went to Oxford, to The Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, where John studied cartooning.

Upon graduation, he moved to New York and began writing and drawing for the New Yorker magazine. In the 60's Updike and his family moved to Ipswich, Massachusetts, but he continued writing for the New Yorker.

In 1974 John and Mary divorced. Three years later, John married Martha Bernhard, who he stayed with to the end of his life. As Updike grew older, he began to experiment more as a writer, composing historical fiction and even a sci-fi novel, Toward The End Of Time. In 2006, he wrote the novel Terrorist, about a young Muslim extremist living in New Jersey. John died of lung cancer in 2009, age 76.

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