Today In History: John Irving Is Born

March 3, 2018 | Matt

March 2, 1942

Today is John Irving’s birthday. Irving is an American novelist and screenwriter who is best known for his novels that have been adapted into films, including The World According to Garp, The Cider House Rules, The Door in the Floor, The Hotel New Hampshire and Simon Birch, which was based on his novel A Prayer for Owen Meany. In 1999, Irving won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for Cider House Rules.


Irving was born in Exeter, New Hampshire. He was raised by his mother and stepfather. As a teenager, Irving became interested in wrestling and continued in the sport for two decades. At age fifteen, an encounter with the novel Great Expectations radically altered the course of his life and set him on the path of being a writer.

His first novel, Setting Free the Bears, was published in 1968. He continued publishing fiction throughout the seventies while working at the University of Iowa and Mount Holyoke. He saw his first popular success with 1978’s The World According to Garp. The book was a bestseller, and won many critical accolades. Multiple other acclaimed bestsellers would follow.


His most recent novel was published in 2015, titled Avenue of Mysteries. A new novel, Darkness as a Bride, will be published soon.

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