Adam Johnson (writer)

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Adam Johnson
Adam Johnson Writer Water Meter.JPG
Born (1967-07-12) July 12, 1967 (age 50)
South Dakota, U.S.
Occupation Author, lecturer
Nationality American
Genre Fiction
Notable awards Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award

Adam Johnson (born July 12, 1967) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist and short story writer. He won the Pulitzer for his 2012 novel, The Orphan Master's Son. He is also a professor of English at Stanford University with a focus on creative writing.[1]


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 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[2] 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.[3]

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."[4] Johnson's interest in the topic arose from his sensitivity to the language of propaganda, wherever it occurs.[5] Johnson also wrote the short-story collection Emporium and the novel Parasites Like Us, which won a California Book Award in 2003.[6] 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. Recently his short story "George Orwell was a Friend of Mine" was published by 21st Editions in The Janus Turn with photographs in platinum by George Tice.[7]

Johnson's work has been translated into French, Dutch, Japanese, Spanish, German, Italian, Hebrew, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Catalan, Serbian, and Macedonian 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 Salingeresque sense of adolescent alienation and confusion, combined with an acute awareness of the randomness of life and the difficulty of making and sustaining connections."[8]

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.”[9] 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."[10] "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.

Awards and honors[edit]



Short story collections

Story publications


  1. ^ Tanza Loudenback, Adam Johnson is a Pulitzer-prize winner for fiction - 13 of the most impressive professors at Stanford, Business Insider, October 4, 2015
  2. ^ "Faculty | Department of English". Retrieved 2015-03-06. 
  4. ^ "The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson : Review". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-03-06. 
  5. ^ "INTERVIEW: Adam Johnson". Archived from the original on 2014-05-24. Retrieved 2015-03-06. 
  6. ^ [1] Archived September 26, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ "CONTRIBUTORS". 21st Editions, The Art of the Book. 
  8. ^ Kakutani, Michiko (2002-04-02). "BOOKS OF THE TIMES - An Out-of-Kilter World, Just Down the Interstate -". New York Times. Retrieved 2015-03-06. 
  9. ^ Mendelsohn, Daniel (2002-05-13). "Road to Nowhere". Retrieved 2015-03-06. 
  10. ^ Dederer, Claire (2003-08-22). "Entertainment & the Arts | 'Parasites' blazes a trail in apocalyptic comedy | Seattle Times Newspaper". Retrieved 2015-03-06. 
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  19. ^ "Adam Johnson - WHITING AWARDS". 
  20. ^ "2010 Grant Awards: Literature Fellowships: Creative Writing (Prose)". National Endowment for the Arts. Archived from the original on January 6, 2013. Retrieved March 3, 2016. 
  21. ^ "Second Annual Gina Berriault Award Reading - San Francisco State University". Retrieved 2015-03-06. 
  22. ^ "The Pulitzer Prizes Citation". Retrieved 2015-03-06. 
  23. ^ Meredith Moss (September 24, 2013). "2013 Dayton Literary Peace Prize winners announced". Dayton Daily News. Retrieved September 26, 2013. 
  24. ^ Richard Brooks (April 6, 2014). "Cobain helps win short story prize". The Sunday Times. Retrieved May 29, 2014. 
  25. ^ "2015 National Book Awards". National Book Foundation. Retrieved 19 November 2015. 
  26. ^ Alter, Alexandra (19 November 2015). "Ta-Nehisi Coates Wins National Book Award". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 November 2015. 
  27. ^ "Adam Johnson wins $20,000 Story Prize for short fiction". Washington Post. Associated Press. March 2, 2016. Retrieved March 3, 2016. 
  28. ^ "Adam Johnson’s ‘Fortune Smiles’". The New York Times. 16 August 2015. 

External links[edit]