John Updike
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John Updike Family & Timeline, Poets - 𝐉𝐨𝐡𝐧 𝐔𝐩𝐝𝐢𝐤𝐞 Biography
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Rabbit
Martha Ruggles BernhardMary Entwistle Pennington (m. 1953)
David (born 1957)ElizabethMichael (born 1959) Miranda
Harvard UniversityShillington High School Radcliffe CollegeThe Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art at the University of Oxford
Harvard University
Reading, Pennsylvania, United States
Christianity
Male
Wesley Russell Updike
Linda Grace (née Hoyer)
Pisces
Reading, Pennsylvania, United States
76
Danvers, Massachusetts, United States
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Who is John Updike?

undefined - John UpdikeJohn Updike

Considered one of the greatest American writers of the twentieth century, John Updike was a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner author and was also the recipient of many prestigious literary awards. A prodigious and prolific writer, most of Updike’s novels center on religion, sex and the American middle class. Talking about average American people, he once said, "I like middles. It is in middles that extremes clash, where ambiguity restlessly rules." Many of his novels have been adapted for movies and television for their visual appeal and proximity to the lives of Americans. Apart from a fair number of novels and short stories to his credit, he was also a regular contributor to ‘The New Yorker’. According to famous essayist and writer, Adam Gopnik, Updike was "the first American writer since Henry James to get himself fully expressed, the man who broke the curse of incompleteness that had haunted American writing”. Updike’s prose style has always been the highlight of his novels for its "rich description and language," making it almost inimitable. However, his novels are not his only major works. He was an equally good poet and short story writer. He has a composed huge number of poems, written a large number of short stories and essays and literary criticisms. To know more about this great personality, read the biography below.

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John Updike Childhood & Early Life

John Updike was born in Pennysylvania to Linda Grace and Wesley Russell Updike. His mother’s aspiration for writing and getting her works published served as an inspiration for him from a very young age.

He completed high school studies from the Governor Mifflin Senior High School in 1950 and went to study at Harvard University on a full scholarship to major in English.

While at Harvard, he contributed cartoons to the in-house journal ‘Harvard Lampoon’ and later became its president. He graduated in 1954 earning a degree in English.

Following his graduation he attended ‘The Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art’ at the University of Oxford to become a graphic artist.

John Updike Career

After returning to the U.S. he moved from Pennsylvania to New York where he contributed to ‘The New Yorker’ to begin his career in writing.

In 1958, he published his first book of poetry ‘The Carpentered Hen and Other Tame Creatures’ and in 1959 he published ‘The Same Door’.

He relocated to Ipswich, Massachusetts with his family in 1960 where he wrote another of his books ‘Rabbit, Run’ and in 1963 ‘The Centaur’ was published. Both the works were well-received and later won him a National book Award.

Until he came up with his next piece of work, he continued to contribute to ‘The New Yorker’. In 1971, he wrote a sequel to the ‘Rabbit Run’ called ‘Rabbit Redux’ .

In 1979 he came out with a collection of short stories ‘Too Far To Go’

His next big work of literature was in 1980 with the publication of ‘Rabbit Is Rich’ which brought him great critical acclaim worldwide.

Following the publication of the ‘Rabbit’ sequel, he came up with ‘The Witches of Eastwick’ in 1984 and ‘Roger's Version’, in 1989.

His final rabbit novel was ‘Rabbit At Rest’ published in 1990 in which the protagonist dies. The book was critically acclaimed and made him one of the most celebrated writers of his time.

In the later part of his career he wrote a number of novels; the most famous one being 1996 novel ‘In the Beauty of the Lilies’.

In 2006, he published ‘Terrorist’ which though did not gain much critical praise but attracted a lot of media attention.

His last novel was ‘The Widows of Eastwick’ in 2008, a sequel to one of his previous novels ‘The Witches of Eastwick’.

John Updike Major Works

Updike’s most celebrated work till date is his ‘Harry ‘Rabbit’ Angstrom’ which refers to the four novels he wrote namely, ‘Rabbit, Run’, ‘Rabbit Redux’, ‘Rabbit Is Rich’ and ‘Rabbit At Rest’. Harry ‘Rabbit’ Angstrom or just ‘Rabbit’, a fictional character, is the protagonist whose childhood, youth, adulthood and death form the basis of the novels.

‘The Witches of Eastwick’ written in 1984, is another great novel by this author which was adapted to a film, a television series and was also made into several musicals.

John Updike Awards & Achievements

For his novel ‘Rabbit Is Rich’, Updike was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1982 along with the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award.

He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for the second time in 1991 after the publication of his magnum opus, ‘Rabbit at Rest’.

John Updike Personal Life & Legacy

Updike married Mary E. Pennington in 1953 and in 1955, their first child Elizabeth was born. They had three more children, before they divorced in 1974.

In 1977, he married Martha Ruggles Bernhard with whom he spent the rest of his life.

He died of lung cancer at the age of 76.

John Updike Trivia

Apart from William Faulkner and Booth Tarkington, this great American novelist is the only writer to have won two Pulitzer Prizes for fiction.

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John Updike awards

  • Other

    • (two) National Book Awards
    • 1989
      National Medal of Arts
    • 2003
      National Humanities Medal
    • Rea Award for the Short Story for outstanding achievement
    • Helmerich Award
    • St. Louis Literary Award
    • American Academy of Arts and Letters Gold Medal for Fiction
    • Ambassador Book Award for Fiction
    • Medal of Distinguished Contribution to American Letters
    • (two) National Book Critics Circle Award
    • (two) Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
    • 2004 - PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction
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John Updike biography timelines

  • John Updike was born in Pennysylvania to Linda Grace and Wesley Russell Updike. His mother’s aspiration for writing and getting her works published served as an inspiration for him from a very young age.
    18th Mar 1932
  • He completed high school studies from the Governor Mifflin Senior High School in 1950 and went to study at Harvard University on a full scholarship to major in English.
    1950
  • Updike married Mary E. Pennington in 1953 and in 1955, their first child Elizabeth was born. They had three more children, before they divorced in 1974.
    1953 To 1974
  • While at Harvard, he contributed cartoons to the in-house journal ‘Harvard Lampoon’ and later became its president. He graduated in 1954 earning a degree in English.
    1954
  • In 1958, he published his first book of poetry ‘The Carpentered Hen and Other Tame Creatures’ and in 1959 he published ‘The Same Door’.
    1958
  • He relocated to Ipswich, Massachusetts with his family in 1960 where he wrote another of his books ‘Rabbit, Run’ and in 1963 ‘The Centaur’ was published. Both the works were well-received and later won him a National book Award.
    1960
  • Until he came up with his next piece of work, he continued to contribute to ‘The New Yorker’. In 1971, he wrote a sequel to the ‘Rabbit Run’ called ‘Rabbit Redux’ .
    1971
  • In 1977, he married Martha Ruggles Bernhard with whom he spent the rest of his life.
    1977
  • In 1979 he came out with a collection of short stories ‘Too Far To Go’
    1979
  • His next big work of literature was in 1980 with the publication of ‘Rabbit Is Rich’ which brought him great critical acclaim worldwide.
    1980
  • For his novel ‘Rabbit Is Rich’, Updike was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1982 along with the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award.
    1982
  • His final rabbit novel was ‘Rabbit At Rest’ published in 1990 in which the protagonist dies. The book was critically acclaimed and made him one of the most celebrated writers of his time.
    1990
  • He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for the second time in 1991 after the publication of his magnum opus, ‘Rabbit at Rest’.
    1991
  • In the later part of his career he wrote a number of novels; the most famous one being 1996 novel ‘In the Beauty of the Lilies’.
    1996
  • In 2006, he published ‘Terrorist’ which though did not gain much critical praise but attracted a lot of media attention.
    2006
  • His last novel was ‘The Widows of Eastwick’ in 2008, a sequel to one of his previous novels ‘The Witches of Eastwick’.
    2008
  • He died of lung cancer at the age of 76.
    27th Jan 2009
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Frequently asked questions about John Updike

  • What is John Updike birthday?

    John Updike was born at March 18, 1932

  • Where is John Updike's birth place?

    John Updike was born in Reading, Pennsylvania, United States

  • What is John Updike nationalities?

    John Updike's nationalities is American

  • What is John Updike nick names?

    John Updike's nickNames is Rabbit

  • Who is John Updike spouses?

    John Updike's spouses is Martha Ruggles Bernhard, Mary Entwistle Pennington (m. 1953)

  • Who is John Updike childrens?

    John Updike's childrens is David (born 1957), Elizabeth, Michael (born 1959) Miranda

  • What was John Updike universities?

    John Updike studied at Harvard University, Shillington High School Radcliffe College, The Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art at the University of Oxford university

  • What was John Updike notable alumnis?

    John Updike's notable alumnis is Harvard University

  • What is John Updike's religion?

    John Updike's religion is Christianity

  • Who is John Updike's father?

    John Updike's father is Wesley Russell Updike

  • Who is John Updike's mother?

    John Updike's mother is Linda Grace (née Hoyer)

  • What is John Updike's sun sign?

    John Updike is Pisces

  • When was John Updike died?

    John Updike was died at January 27, 2009

  • Where was John Updike died?

    John Updike was died in Danvers, Massachusetts, United States

  • Which age was John Updike died?

    John Updike was died at age 76