• Birth—May 24, 1963
• Where—Washington, D.C.
• Education—B.A., University of Pittsburgh; M.F.A., University
of California at Irvine
• Awards—Pulitzer Prize, 2001 (for Kavalier & Clay)
• Currently—Berkeley, California
In 1987, at 24, Michael Chabon was living a graduate student's dream. His masters thesis for the writing program at UC Irvine, a novel called The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, was not only published—it was published to the tune of a $155,000 advance, a six-figure first printing, a movie deal, and a place on the bestseller lists. Mysteries, a coming-of-age story about a young man caught between romances with a man on one side, a woman on the other, and the shadow of his gangster father over it all, drew readers with its elegant prose and an irresistibly cool character, Art Bechstein, racing through a long, hot summer.
Following this auspicious debut, Chabon penned a follow-up short story collection, then hit a serious snag. After five years of fits and starts, he abandoned a troublesome work in progress and began work on another novel, a wry, smart book about, natch, an author hoplessly stuck writing his endless, shapeless novel! With 1995's Wonder Boys and its successful film adaptation by Curtis Hanson, Chabon found both critical praise and a wider audience.
In the year 2000, Chabon rose to the challenge of attempting something on a more epic scale. That something was The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, the story of two young, Jewish comic book artists in the 1940s. Like Chabon's other books, it explored a relationship between two men and dealt with their maturation. But unlike his other books, the novel was grander in scope and theme, blending the world of comic books, the impact of World War II, and the lives of his characters. It won a Pulitzer, and secured Chabon's place as an American talent unafraid to paint broad landscapes with minute detail and aching emotion.
In 2007 Chabon published The Yiddish Policeman's Union, followed two years later by Manhood for Amateurs, a memoir and his first non-fiction. Both works received high praise.
Chabon's ability to capture modern angst in funny, intelligently plotted stories has earned him comparisons to everyone from Fitzgerald to DeLillo, but he has fearlessly wandered outside the conventions of the novel to write screenplays, children's books, comics, and pulp adventures. Clearly, Michael Chabon views his highly praised talent as a story that hasn't yet reached its climax.
• Chabon usually writes from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m.
• He has a side interest in television writing, having written a pilot for CBS (House of Gold) that did not get picked up, and a second one for TNT.Chabon also has an interest in screenwriting; he was attached to X-Men but dropped from the project when director Bryan Singer signed on. Now he is adapting The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay for the big screen.
• After slaving for five years on a book called Fountain City (parts of which can be read on his web site), Chabon finally decided it was not going to jell and abandoned it. At a low point, he switched gears and began Wonder Boys, the story (of course) of an author hopelessly stuck writing his endless, shapeless novel. (From Barnes & Noble.)
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