|Born||August 3, 1962
|Alma mater||Princeton University, Oxford University|
|Occupation||Novelist, literary critic, essayist|
|Awards||2009 William Law X-Mormon of the Year|
Walter Kirn (born August 3, 1962) is an American novelist, literary critic, and essayist. He is the author of eight books, most notably Up in the Air, which was made into a movie starring George Clooney, and Blood Will Out, a memoir of his friendship with the imposter and convicted murderer, Clark Rockefeller.
A 1983 graduate of Princeton University, he has published a collection of short stories and several novels, including Thumbsucker, which was made into a 2005 film featuring Keanu Reeves and Vince Vaughn; Up in the Air, which was made into a 2009 film directed by Jason Reitman; and Mission to America. In 2005, he took over blogger Andrew Sullivan's publication for a few weeks while Sullivan was on vacation. He has also written The Unbinding, an Internet-only novel that was published in Slate magazine.
He has also reviewed books for New York Magazine and has written for The New York Times Book Review and New York Times Sunday Magazine, and is a contributing editor of Time, where he has received popularity for his entertaining and sometimes humorous first-person essays among other articles of interest. He also served as an American cultural correspondent for the BBC.
In addition to teaching nonfiction writing at the University of Montana, Kirn was the 2008–09 Vare Nonfiction Writer in Residence at the University of Chicago. He received his A.B. in English at Princeton University in 1983, and obtained a second undergraduate degree in English Literature at Oxford University, where he was a Keasbey Scholar.
Kirn was born in Akron, Ohio but grew up in Marine on St. Croix, Minnesota. After high school, he attended Macalester College for one year before transferring to Princeton University. Kirn's family joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when he was twelve, but Kirn is no longer affiliated with the church. Kirn received the 2009 William Law X-Mormon of the Year award. In 1995, Kirn married Maggie McGuane, daughter of actress Margot Kidder and novelist Thomas McGuane. Kirn was 32 at the time; McGuane was 19. The couple had two children, Maisie (b. 1998) and Charlie (b. 2001), but have since divorced. Kirn is now dating magazine writer Amanda Fortini. The two split their time between Livingston, Montana and Los Angeles, California.
- My Hard Bargain: Stories (1990)
- She Needed Me (1992)
- Thumbsucker (1999)
- Up in the Air (2001)
- Mission to America (2005)
- The Unbinding (2006)
- Lost in the Meritocracy: The Undereducation of an Overachiever (2009)
- Blood Will Out (2013)
- "Walter Kirn". Mormon Literature Database. Brigham Young University. c. 2003. Retrieved June 30, 2010.
- "The Unbinding: An exclusive Slate novel. By Walter Kim". Slate. Retrieved 2006-06-22.
- Coming This Fall: Walter Kirn
- "Walter Kirn". Retrieved 2009-07-06.
- Kirn, Walter (2005-01-05). "Lost in the Meritocracy". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2014-07-20.
- NPR: Writer Walter Kirn, on a 'Mission to America'
- Mainstreet Plaza – The 2009 William Law X-Mormon of the Year: Walter Kirn
- Brozan, Nadine (1995-08-16). "Chronicle". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-27.
- [http://www.q-and-a.org/Transcript/?ProgramID=1239 - Walter Kirn Author, "Lost in the Meritocracy: The Undereducation of an Overachiever"]
- Pressler, Jessica (2010-04-12). "That’s It, We Know Far Too Much About Walter Kirn’s Relationship". NYMag.com. Retrieved 2014-07-20.
- Larry Weissman, Interview with Walter Kirn, Random House.
- Terry Gross, Writer Walter Kirn, on a 'Mission to America', Fresh Air, NPR.
- Essay: The Autumn of the Multi-Taskers, The Atlantic Monthly, November 2007.
- Article: More Than a Numbers Game, The New York Times Magazine, May 2009.
- Essay: Lost in the Meritocracy, The Atlantic, January 2005.
- Profile: Poison IvyTime Out New York, May 14–20, 2009.
- C-SPAN Q&A interview with Kirn, July 5, 2009
- Walter Kirn on Twitter