Dixon has been nominated for the National Book Award twice, in 1991 for Frog and in 1995 for Interstate. Dixon was one of seven children in the family. His work, characterized by mordant humor, long sentences, and a frank attention to human sexuality, has also earned him a Guggenheim Fellowship, the American Academy Institute of Arts and Letters Prize for Fiction, the O. Henry Award, and the Pushcart prize.
His novel I (McSweeneys 2002) outraged many with its cryptic humor, long unintelligible sentences, and a playfulness with language that may have served more to confuse than to delight the reader. He graduated from the City College of New York in 1958 and is a former faculty member of Johns Hopkins University. Before becoming a full-time writer Dixon worked a plethora of odd jobs ranging from bus driver to bartender. In his early 20s he worked as a journalist and in radio, interviewing such monumental figures as JFK, Richard Nixon and Khrushchev. He has cited Fyodor Dostoevsky, Thomas Mann, Franz Kafka, Ernest Hemingway, and Anton Chekhov as his favorite authors.