John Irving

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John Winslow Irving (born John Wallace Blunt, Jr.; March 2, 1942) is an American novelist and Academy Award-winning screenwriter.

Irving achieved critical and popular acclaim after the international success of The World According to Garp in 1978. Some of Irving's novels, such as The Cider House Rules and A Prayer for Owen Meany, have been bestsellers and many have been made into movies. Several of Irving's books (Garp, Meany, A Widow for One Year) and short stories have been set in and around Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire where Irving grew up as the son of an Exeter faculty member, Colin F.N. Irving (1941), and nephew of another, H. Hamilton "Hammy" Bissell (1929). (Both Irving and Bissell, and other members of the Exeter community, appear somewhat disguised in many of his novels.)[citation needed]

Irving was in the Exeter wrestling program both as a wrestler and as an assistant coach, and wrestling features prominently in his books, stories and life.

He won the Best Adapted Screenplay Academy Award for 1999 for his script of The Cider House Rules.



Irving's career began at the age of 26 with the publication of his first novel, Setting Free the Bears. The novel was reasonably well reviewed, but failed to gain a large readership. In the late 1960s, he studied with Kurt Vonnegut at the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. His second and third novels, The Water-Method Man and The 158-Pound Marriage, were similarly received. At around this time, in 1975, Irving accepted a position as Assistant Professor of English at Mount Holyoke College.[1]

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