Adam Johnson (writer)
July 12, 1967 |
South Dakota, U.S.
Johnson was born in South Dakota and raised in Arizona. He earned a BA in Journalism from Arizona State University in 1992; an MFA from the writing program at McNeese State University, where he was a classmate of the writer Neil Connelly, in 1996; and a PhD in English from Florida State University in 2000. Johnson is currently a San Francisco writer and associate professor in creative writing at Stanford University. He founded the Stanford Graphic Novel Project and was named "one of the nation's most influential and imaginative college professors" by Playboy Magazine.
Johnson is the author of the novel The Orphan Master's Son (2012), which Michiko Kakutani, writing in The New York Times, has called, "a daring and remarkable novel, a novel that not only opens a frightening window on the mysterious kingdom of North Korea, but one that also excavates the very meaning of love and sacrifice."  Johnson's interest in the topic arose from his sensitivity to the language of propaganda, wherever it occurs. Johnson also wrote the short-story collection Emporium and the novel Parasites Like Us, which won a California Book Award in 2003. His work has been published in Esquire, Harper's Magazine, Tin House, and The Paris Review, as well as Best New American Voices and The Best American Short Stories.
His work has been translated into French, Dutch, Japanese, Catalan, German, Spanish, Italian, Hebrew, Polish, Portuguese, and Serbian and focuses on characters at the edge of society for whom isolation and disconnection are nearly permanent conditions. Michiko Kakutani described the central theme "running through his tales is also a melancholy melody of longing and loss: a Salingeresqe sense of adolescent alienation and confusion, combined with an acute awareness of the randomness of life and the difficulty of making and sustaining connections."
According to Daniel Mendelsohn, writing for New York Magazine, “Johnson's oh-so-slightly futuristic flights of fancy, his vaguely Blade Runner–esque visions of a cluttered, anaerobic American culture, illustrate something very real, very current: the way we must embrace the unknown, take risks, in order to give flavor and meaning to life.” A strain of absurdity also runs through his work, causing it to be described as "a funky new science fiction that was part irony and part pure dread." "Teen Sniper" is about young sniper prodigy enlisted by the Palo Alto police department to suppress the disgruntled workers of Silicon Valley. "The Canadanaut" follows a remote team of Canadian weapons developers who race to beat the Americans to the moon.
Johnson received the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction in 2013 and a Whiting Writers' Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a Swarthout Writing Award, a Kingsbury Fellowship, and a Stegner Fellowship. He was named Debut Writer of the Year in 2002 by Amazon.com, and in 2003 he was selected for the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers series. He was nominated for a Young Lions Award from the New York Public Library and received scholarships from the Bread Loaf and Sewanee writers' conferences. In 2010, he won the Gina Berriault Literary Award. On April 15, 2013 Johnson won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for The Orphan Master's Son. Johnson won the 2013 Dayton Literary Peace Prize for The Orphan Master's Son.
- Story publications
- "Hurricanes Anonymous" in Tin House
- "The Denti-Vision Satellite" in Ninth Letter
- "Cliff Gods of Acapulco" in Esquire
- "The History of Cancer" in Hayden's Ferry Review
- "Watertables" in The Missouri Review
- "The Canadanaut" in The Paris Review
- "Your Own Backyard" in The Southeast Review
- "The Death-Dealing Cassini Satellite" in New England Review
- "Teen Sniper" in Harper's Magazine
- "Trauma Plate" in The Virginia Quarterly Review
- Meredith Moss (September 24, 2013). "2013 Dayton Literary Peace Prize winners announced". Dayton Daily News. Retrieved September 26, 2013.
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