Michael Dirda at the 2008 Texas Book Festival
Michael Dirda (born 1948), a Fulbright Fellowship recipient, is a Pulitzer Prize–winning book critic for the Washington Post.
Having studied at Oberlin College for his undergraduate degree, Dirda took a Ph.D. from Cornell University in comparative literature. In 1978 Dirda started writing for the Washington Post; in 1993 he won the Pulitzer Prize for his criticism. Currently, he is a book critic for the Post.
Two collections of Dirda's literary journalism have been published: Readings: Essays and Literary Entertainments (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2000; ISBN 0-253-33824-7) and Bound to Please (New York: W. W. Norton, 2005; ISBN 0-393-05757-7). He has also written Book by Book: Notes on Reading and Life (New York: Henry Holt, 2005; ISBN 0-8050-7877-0), Classics for Pleasure (Orlando: Harcourt, 2007; ISBN 0-15-101251-2), On Conan Doyle; or, The Whole Art of Storytelling (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2011; ISBN 0-691-15135-0), and the autobiographical An Open Book: Coming of Age in the Heartland (New York: W. W. Norton, 2003; ISBN 0-393-05756-9). On Conan Doyle was awarded the 2012 Edgar Award in the Best Critical/Biographical category. (Reviewer Darrell Schweitzer lauds the book in The New York Review of Science Fiction.)
Dirda lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, with his wife, Marian Peck Dirda, a prints and drawings conservator at the National Gallery of Art. They have three sons: Christopher (b. 1984), Michael (b. 1987), and Nathaniel (b. 1990).