John Irving was born in Exeter, New Hampshire, in 1942, and he once admitted that he was a 'grim' child. Although he excelled in English at school and knew by the time he graduated that he wanted to write novels, it was not until he met a young Southern novelist named John Yount, at the University of New Hampshire, that he received encouragement. 'It was so simple,' he remembers. 'Yount was the first person to point out that anything I did except writing was going to be vaguely unsatisfying.' The World According to Garp, which won the National Book Award in 1980, was John Irving's fourth novel and his first international bestseller; it also became a George Roy Hill film. Tony Richardson wrote and directed the adaptation for the screen of The Hotel New Hampshire (1984). Irving's novels are now translated into thirty-five foreign languages, and he has had nine international bestsellers. Worldwide, the Irving novel most often called "an American classic" is A Prayer for Owen Meany (1989), the portrayal of an enduring friendship at that time when the Vietnam War had its most divisive effect on the United States. In 1992, Mr. Irving was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Oklahoma. (He competed as a wrestler for twenty years, until he was thirty-four, and coached the sport until he was forty-seven). In 2000, Irving won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Cider House Rules - a Lasse Hallström film with seven Academy Award nominations. Tod Williams wrote and directed The Door in the Floor, the 2004 film adapted from Mr. Irving's ninth novel, A Widow for One Year. Avenue of Mysteries is John Irving's fourteenth novel. John Irving has three children and lives in Vermont and Toronto.
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