Andre Dubus III: ahn-dray duh-BYOOSE (last syllable rhymes with use)
Before finding his calling as a writer, Andre Dubus III (b. Oceanside,
California) worked for brief stints
as a bounty hunter, private investigator, carpenter, bartender, actor, and
teacher. His first book, The Cage Keeper and Other Stories, was published
in 1989, followed in 1993 by his first novel, Bluesman.
For the next few years, he taught and did odd jobs as a carpenter while working on House of Sand and Fog (a National Book Award finalist in 1999 and 2003 movie). Much of the book was written in his car, which he often parked at a local cemetery in search of quiet and solitude. His characters were inspired by two people whose predicaments had stuck in his mind for years: a woman he read about in the newspaper who was wrongly evicted from her house and forced to live in her car, and a college friend's father, who had been a colonel in the Iranian air force and could only find menial jobs after fleeing to the United States.
In 2008 he published The Garden of Last Days; followed by a memoir, Townie, in 2011.
Dubus's work has been awarded a Pushcart Prize and the 1985 National Magazine Award for Fiction. It has also been cited in The One Hundred Most Distinguished Stories of 1993 and The Best American Short Stories of 1994. He was one of three finalists for the 1994 Prix de Rome given by the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and House of Sand and Fog was a finalist for the 1999 National Book Award for Fiction.
He started his college career at Bradford College (Massachusetts) where his father, author Andre Dubus (d. 1999), taught before studying sociology at the University of Texas and then taking a Ph.D. in the theory of social change at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which he did not complete.
He lives in Newburyport with his wife, dancer Fontaine Dollas, and their three children. He teaches at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell.
This biography was last updated on 03/19/2011.
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A thoroughly entertaining interview with Andre Dubus III as he shares a variety of anecdotal stories describing the people and events that influenced his writing
What was it like growing up in your household, with a writer for a father?
Well, like most kids, I didn't pay attention to what my dad did, I just wasn't interested. My dad and Mom divorced when I was around 10, and I didn't live with him after that, though he was close by and we saw each other weekly. I wasn't really aware that he was a writer; I didn't start reading his writing until I was about 15. It occurred to me then that my dad was kind of special; he's still one of my favorite writers. I grew up in a pretty working-class neighborhood, and my friends didn't have a lot of books in their houses, though I did. And though I didn't pick up a lot of those books off of the shelf, I grew up knowing that it was part of a full life.
Is being a writer something that you always aspired to, or did you have an epiphany at some point in your life?
I did have an epiphany, I actually aspired to do something quite different. I got a degree in sociology, didn't read much fiction in college, and I was a pretty political, left-wing, type of guy....
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