Ethan Andrew Canin was born on July 19, 1960 in Ann Arbor during his parent's vacation from Iowa City where his father taught violin at the University of Iowa.
While still a young child, his family moved around various parts of the northeast of the United States, eventually settling in San Francisco where Canin attended and graduated from Town School and then from San Francisco University High School.
He attended Stanford University and earned an undergraduate degree in English, and then entered the Iowa Writers' Workshop, receiving an MFA in 1984. Then, apparently considering himself a failure as a writer, he entered Harvard Medical School graduating in 1991.
He practiced medicine until 1998 while also pursuing his writing. He co-founded the San Francisco Writers' Grotto in 1994 and, in 1998, left medicine to join the faculty of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where he is the F. Wendell Miller Professor of English.
The Palace Thief (stories, 1994) (made into, the movie The Emperor's Club)
Emperor of the Air (stories, 1988)
Blue River (1992)
For Kings And Planets (1999)
Carry Me Across The Water (2002)
America America (2008)
This biography was last updated on 12/08/2013.
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A conversation with Ethan Canin
Random House Reader's Circle: America America is an
ambitious novel that embraces the great themes of politics, power, family,
class, integrity and love; even the title suggests we are in for a
monumental read. How did this novel begin for you personally, and what does
it represent for you as a move in your own life as a writer?
Ethan Canin: America America began for me as a smaller idea. Originally, it was only the story of Corey Sifter, a working-class boy, who falls in love with Christian Metarey, an aristocratic girl. I'd written about 250 pages of that novel when the attacks occurred on September 11, 2001; and that morning, as it turned out, was the last time I wrote fiction for close to two years. I put the novel aside and didn't pick it up again until 2003. And when I began writing again I found myself much more urgently involved with history and politics and the nature of power. A senator made his way into the story, then a presidential campaign. The novel's evolution began to reflect my own, and that of many others who on that day became more serious about the&...
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