Books by John Irving

A Prayer for Owen Meany In One Person The World According to Garp
The Imaginary Girlfriend The Hotel New Hampshire The Cider House Rules
Setting Free the Bears Avenue of Mysteries


2018 Ambassador Richard C. Holbrooke
Distinguished Achievement Award

John Irving, 2018 Ambassador Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award Winner
Click to see video

(Click photo to see acceptance speech at awards dinner.)

John Irving

"Novels and stories invite people into a writer’s worldview. For forty years and counting, I’ve written about sexual difference and sexual minorities — at times, when the prevailing literary culture labeled it bizarre or niche. I’ve written with the hope that the bigotry, hatred, and flat-out violence perpetrated on sexual minorities would become a relic of the past. In that sense I’ve written in protest — I’ve written protest novels. And yet, if I’ve written characters whose stories give them access to the breadth of human experience and emotion, I’ve done my job as a writer. Novels are my platform; if a prize helps bring attention to my subject matter, then I welcome it."

                            - John Irving

John Irving was born John Wallace Blunt, Jr., in Exeter, New Hampshire, in 1942. He took his stepfather’s name when his mother remarried. Colin F.N. Irving taught in the History Department at Philips Exeter Academy, where John Irving graduated in 1961. For twenty years, Mr. Irving competed as a wrestler. In 1992, he was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Mr. Irving published his first novel, Setting Free the Bears, when he was twenty-six. He has been nominated for a National Book Award three times — winning once, in 1980, for his novel The World According to Garp. He received an O. Henry Award in 1981 for his short story “Interior Space.” In 2000, Mr. Irving won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Cider House Rules — a Lasse Hallström film with seven Academy Award nominations. In 2012, Mr. Irving won a Lambda Literary Award (in the Bisexual Fiction category) for his novel In One Person. His novels have been translated into more than thirty-five languages and his all-time best-selling novel, in every language, is A Prayer for Owen Meany.

Before the success of The World According to Garp allowed him to write full time, Mr. Irving held several teaching positions — notably, at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Mt. Holyoke College and Brandeis University.

John Irving co-owns the theatrical rights to The World According to Garp with Warner Brothers. He has written an adaptation of Garp as a teleplay — a miniseries in five episodes. He and Warner Brothers are currently in the process of finding a production and distribution partner for the Garp miniseries. Mr. Irving, who lives in Toronto, is also at work on his fifteenth novel — a ghost story called Darkness as a Bride.

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