Birdy (novel)

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Front cover of first edition
AuthorWilliam Wharton
Cover artistFred Marcellino
CountryUnited Kingdom
[citation needed]
Publication date
December 1978
Media typePrint & Audio

Birdy is the debut novel of William Wharton, who was more than 50 years old when it was published. It won the U.S. National Book Award in category First Novel.[1] Birdy was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 1980,[2] ultimately losing to The Executioner's Song by Norman Mailer.[3]

Birdy was adapted as a film of the same name, directed by Alan Parker and starring Matthew Modine and Nicolas Cage.

The novel has said to have been a lyrical influence on the song "The King of Birds" by American alternative rock band R.E.M.[4]

Naomi Wallace, a poet and playwright, adapted Birdy for the stage in 1997.


  1. ^ "National Book Awards – 1980". National Book Foundation. Retrieved 2012-02-28. (With essay by Dorianne Laux from the Awards 60-year anniversary blog.)
    • First novels or first works of fiction were recognized from 1980 to 1985.
  2. ^ "1980 Finalists". Pulitzer Prize Foundation. Retrieved 2015-05-15.
  3. ^ "1980 Winners". Pulitzer Prize Foundation. Retrieved 2015-05-15.
  4. ^ Wawzenek, Bryan (2017). "R.E.M. Ponder Earthquakes and Artistry on 'King of Birds': The Story Behind Every 'Document' Song". Diffuser. Archived from the original on 2017-08-31.