John Irving

Photo by Robert Spencer

John Irving was born and raised in Exeter, New Hampshire, where he attended Phillips Exeter Academy, the setting of several of his books and short stories. It is also where he learned to wrestle and became assistant coach in the sport that figures prominently in his life and to which he credits much of his success as a writer.

He earned a BA from the University of New Hampshire in 1965, after a year at  the University of Pittsburgh, where he also wrestled, and another year at the University of Vienna and the Institute of European Studies, followed by an MFA in fiction from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 1967.

He has been a Writer in Residence at Bread Loaf Writers Conference as well as the Iowa Writers’ Workshop; he has also taught at Mount Holyoke College and Brandeis University in  Massachusetts, and has coached wrestling at various New England prep schools.

Awards include National Endowment for the Arts and  Guggenheim Foundation fellowships, a Rockefeller Foundation grant, a National Book Award, and an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. Since the international success of The World According to Garp, all of his books have been bestsellers.

John lives with his second wife and three children in Vermont, Toronto, and northern Ontario.


In One Person (2012) Simon & Schuster

Last Night in Twisted River (2009) Random House

A Sound Like Someone Trying Not to Make a Sound (children’s book) (2005) Bloomsbury Publishing

Until I Find You (2005) Random House

The Fourth Hand (2001) Random House

My Movie Business: A Memoir (1999) Random House

A Widow for One Year (1998) Random House

The Imaginary Girlfriend: A Memoir (2002) Ballantine Books

A Son of the Circus (1994) Random House

Trying to Save Piggy Sneed (shorter pieces) (1996) Arcade Publishing

A Prayer for Owen Meany (1989) William Morrow

The Cider House Rules (1985) William Morrow (2000 Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay)

The Hotel New Hampshire (1981) E.P. Dutton

The World According to Garp (1978) E. P. Dutton (National Book Award winner)

The 158-Pound Marriage (1974) Random House

The Water Method Man (1972) Random House

Setting Free the Bears (1968) Random House

Find out more about John