The American novelist and short story writer John Irving (full name John Winslow Irving; birth date March 2, 1942, Exeter, New Hampshire, U.S.); given name John Wallace Blunt, Jr.) (1978; film 1982). Known for his novels, children’s books, and screenplays, John Irving is a household name in the States.
John Irving’s schooling, occupation, and other personal facts (such as his age, place of birth, and ethnicity) may all be found on the Celebrity Who’s a Who website (Profession, Net Worth, Famous for, Hobbies).
John Wallace Blunt, Sr., a writer and executive recruiter, and Helen Frances (née Winslow) Blunt had Irving in Exeter, New Hampshire, but they divorced when he was still an infant. As a child, Irving lived in Exeter with his stepfather, Colin Franklin Newell Irving, a professor at Phillips Exeter Academy. His uncle, Hammy Bissell, was a professor there as well. Wrestling is a significant theme in John Irving’s works and life because he was involved in the program at Phillips Exeter both as a student and as an assistant coach. A Christian theologian and instructor to Irving while he was at Exeter, Frederick Buechner is mentioned in the book’s epigraph. In other words, Irving has dyslexia.
His biological father, whom Irving never met, was an Army Air Forces pilot who was shot down over Burma in July 1943 but managed to survive. (This event was written in his book, The Cider House Rules.) Even though Irving was almost 40 years old when he learned about his father’s bravery in 1981, he was only 15 at the time.
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At the young age of 26, Irving had his first novel, Setting Free the Bears, published (1968). The novel received mostly positive reviews but couldn’t attract many readers. He attended the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop in the late 1960s and learned from Kurt Vonnegut.  The reception for his subsequent novels, The Water-Method Man (1972) and The 158-Pound Marriage (1974), was the same. During the academic year 1975–76, Irving worked as an assistant English professor at Mount Holyoke.
With his first three novels languishing without adequate promotion from Random House, Irving took his fourth novel, The World According to Garp (1978), to Dutton, who assured him of greater dedication to marketing. A worldwide hit, the novel broke sales records and cultural barriers. Its initial paperback edition won the National Book Award for Fiction in 1980, the same year it was a finalist for the award that went to Going After Cacciato by Tim O’Brien. The film adaptation of Garp, directed by George Roy Hill and featuring Robin Williams in the title character and Glenn Close in the part of his mother, was nominated for multiple Academy Awards. During one of Garp’s high school wrestling matches, Irving makes a brief cameo appearance as the referee.
For the Pulitzer Honor in Fiction in 1979, the Pulitzer Jury Committee suggested The World According to Garp as one of three novels. Still, ultimately the award went to The Stories of John Cheever (1978).
As a result of Garp’s efforts, Irving went from being a relatively unknown academic literary writer to having widespread popularity and selling millions of copies of his subsequent novels. The Hotel New Hampshire (1981) followed up next, and although receiving lukewarm reviews from critics, it was a commercial success. The book, much like Garp, was swiftly adapted into a film starring Jodie Foster, Rob Lowe, and Beau Bridges and directed by Tony Richardson. The short story “Interior Space,” which debuted in Fiction magazine in 1980, was included in the 1981 O. Henry Prize Stories collection.
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