John Updike: 1932 – 2009, January 27, 2009 ·

John Updike, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, prolific man of letters and erudite chronicler of sex, divorce and other adventures in the postwar prime of the American empire, died Tuesday of lung cancer. He was 76.

Updike once claimed that he was 15 before he read his first novel, but thereafter, the author wasted little time in mastering the art of fiction. He published his first short story, “Friends from Philadelphia,” in The New Yorker when he was 22, and his first novel, The Poorhouse Fair, five years later.

A literary writer who frequently appeared on best-seller lists, the tall, hawk-nosed Updike vowed early in his career to write a book each year. Working at this clip, he published more than than 25 novels and more than a dozen short story collections, as well as poems, criticism, a memoir and even a famous essay about baseball great Ted Williams.

Updike created his best-known character, a former high school basketball star named Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom, in the 1960 novel Rabbit, Run and later returned to the character in three more novels and a novella. . . (continue reading)

Interview with Updike (1995):

Part 1

Part 2



4 responses to “John Updike: 1932 – 2009

  1. the loss of John Updike makes me wonder if the literary world is being replenished at the same rate that it’s losing such great writers

  2. At least we’ve still got Philip Roth!

  3. silenceinarchitecture

    The loss of David Foster Wallace a few months ago depressed me because I was hoping that he would live the kind of (relatively) long literary life of Roth and Updike. And then Updike died too. Hang in there, Philip!

  4. Yeah, Wallace’s death was especially sad due to its total out-of-the-blueness, during a very productive point in his career.

    I just read his story “Suicide As a Sort of Present” for one of my classes. It was pretty devastating.

    Has anyone read his non-fiction book _A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again_? So much fun.

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