John Updike biography

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John Updike
Photo: George Bush Presidential Library

John Updike

How to pronounce John Updike: JON UHP-DYK

John Updike Biography

John Hoyer Updike was born in Reading, Pennsylvania in 1932. Up until the age of 13 he lived in Shillington, near Reading (where his father was a science teacher) before moving to Plowville, PA. As a child he suffered from psoriasis and stammered, but, with the encouragement of his mother, found an outlet in writing and reading - consuming mysteries by the likes of Erle Stanley Gardner, Ellery Queen, Agatha Christie and John Dickson Carr. He attended Harvard (which he chose because it was the home of the Harvard Lampoon - which he first contributed to, and later edited) where he majored in English. He once said, "My inability to read bravely as a boy had this advantage: when I went to college, I was a true tabula rasa, and received gratefully the imprint of my instructors' opinion, and got good marks."

He attended the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Arts in Oxford, England for a year between 1954-55, and then joined the staff of The New Yorker writing editorials, poetry, stories and criticism. Since the age of 23 he supported himself by writing. He was the father of four children and author of more than 50 books including novels, collections of short stories, poems and criticism. He won many awards including the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the American Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Rosenthal Award, and the Howells Medal.

Partial Bibliography

  • Harry Rabbit Angstrom tetralogy (Rabbit Run, 1960; Rabbit Redux, 1971; Rabbit Is Rich, 1981; Rabbit at Rest, 1990).
  • Henry Bech stories: Bech: A Book, 1970; Bech Is Back, 1982; Bech At Bay, 1998.
  • The Poorhouse Fair, 1959
  • The Centaur, 1963
  • Of the Farm, 1965
  • Couples, 1968
  • A Month of Sundays, 1975
  • Marry Me: A Romance, 1977
  • The Coup, 1978
  • Your Lover Just Called, 1980
  • The Witches of Eastwick, 1984
  • Roger's Version, 1986
  • More Stately Mansions, 1987
  • S, 1988
  • Memories of the Ford Administration, 1992
  • Brazil, 1994
  • In the Beauty of the Lilies, 1996
  • Toward the End of Time, 1997
  • Gertrude and Claudius, 2000
  • Seek My Face, 2002
  • Villages, 2004
  • Terrorist, 2006

This biography was last updated on 04/03/2013.

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Books by this Author

Books by John Updike at BookBrowse
My Father's Tears jacket The Widows of Eastwick jacket Due Considerations jacket Terrorist jacket
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