Dave King holds a BFA in painting and film from Cooper Union and an MFA in writing from Columbia University. King's debut novel, The Ha-Ha, was named one of the best books of 2005 by The Christian Science Monitor and The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and was among eighteen books included on The Washington Post list of the season's best novels. The Ha-Ha was a finalist for Book-of-the-Month Club's "Best Literary Fiction" award and the Quills Foundation "Best Debut Author" award and won King a 2006-07 Rome Prize Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
King's poetry has been published in The Paris Review, among other venues, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He has taught English at Baruch College and cultural studies and poetry at the School of Visual Arts in New York, and he divides his time between Brooklyn and the Hudson Valley of New York.
This biography was last updated on 06/08/2011.
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What Is The Ha-Ha? by Dave King
Probably the question most frequently asked of any author finishing a
manuscript is where exactly did the book come from? In the case of The Ha-Ha,
the question has two parts. The first part involves the origins of protagonist
Howard Kapostash, a character whose traumatic brain injury limits his
communication within the world of the book, though he speaks articulately and
intimately to the reader, while the second part involves the genesis and
significance of the ha-ha itself. I think that by answering each part
individually I may illuminate the book's genesis.
Howard's most obvious antecedent is my older brother Hank, who was profoundly autistic throughout his life. When I was a child, my understanding of Hank's disability was complicated and unresolved, and my long interest in those who are different--and differently abled--undoubtedly stems from this childhood curiosity. In some ways, my boyhood vision of Hank was that of most little brothers: he was a robust and handsome presence, big and blond and athletic and gray-eyed. At the same time, it was clear that whatever interesting sibling relationship my friends and cousins enjoyed was not happening with us. My brother ...
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