John Irving was born in Exeter, New Hampshire, in 1942. His first novel, Setting Free the Bears, was published in 1968, when he was twenty-six. He competed as a wrestler for twenty years, and coached wrestling until he was forty-seven.

Mr. Irving has been nominated for a National Book Award three times—winning once, in 1980, for his novel The World According to Garp. He received an O. Henry Award in 1981 for his short story “Interior Space.” In 2000, Mr. Irving won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Cider House Rules. In 2013, he won a Lambda Literary Award for his novel In One Person.

An international writer—his novels have been translated into more than thirty-five languages—John Irving lives in Toronto. His all-time best-selling novel, in every language, is A Prayer for Owen Meany.  

Avenue of Mysteries is his fourteenth novel.


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John Irving on NPR’s Morning Edition

John Irving on NPR's Morning Edition

John Irving talks to Lynn Neary about the origins of Avenue of Mysteries—from visiting child performers at Indian and Mexican circuses two decades ago, to a screenplay and eventually, a novel. Read the accompanying piece here.

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John Irving discusses In One Person

In this video John discusses his thirteenth novel, In One Person, and his bisexual narrator and main character, Billy Abbott. As Billy says: "We are formed by what we desire."

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John Irving reads from In One Person

John reads from the beginning of In One Person: I’m going to begin by telling you about Miss Frost. While I say to everyone that I became a writer because I read a certain novel by Charles Dickens at the formative age of fifteen, the truth is I was younger than that ...

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John Irving introduces Billy Abbott

John Irving introduces Billy Abbott, the bisexual narrator of In One Person. "If you were, like me, at an all-boys' boarding school in the fall of 1960, you felt utterly alone—you trusted no one, least of all another boy your age—and you loathed yourself. I'd always been lonely, but self-hatred is worse than loneliness." -- ...

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Interview with Publishers Weekly

Sexual Outsiders: Three Questions with John Irving.  PW caught up with John Irving to discover more about his forthcoming novel, In One Person (S&S, May). The book explores the nature of unfulfilled love through the voice of Billy, the bisexual narrator and main character, who tells the tragicomic story of his life. Your publisher, Jonathan Karp, said ...

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John Irving: Author Q & A

You can download this Q & A in a print/mobile friendly PDF here. The protagonist and first person narrator of In One Person, Billy Abbott, is bisexual. Why do you think bisexuals are rarely represented in literature?   The bisexual men I have known were not shy, nor were they “conflicted.”  (This is also true of ...

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Interview with Entertainment Weekly

John Irving on In One Person, sexual identity, and autobiography. John Irving, who turns 70 this year, will publish his latest novel on May 8. In One Person tells the story of Billy Abbott, a bisexual man who struggles with his identity and attraction to men, women, and transgendered individuals as the world changes around him. EW spoke ...

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John Irving

A Note from John

In my opinion, no overview of my novels is better written or more insightful than the Introduction Terrence Des Pres wrote to 3 by Irving (Random House), which published in one volume my first three novels—The 158-Pound Marriage being the third. In his evaluation of Setting Free the Bears, The Water-Method Man, and The 158-Pound ...

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