Darin Strauss

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Darin Strauss
Strauss before the 2010 National Book Critics Circle awards; his Half a Life won in autobiography
Strauss before the 2010 National Book Critics Circle awards; his Half a Life won in autobiography
BornRoslyn Harbor (Long Island), United States
Period21st century
SpouseSusannah Meadows

Darin Strauss (born March 1, 1970) is a best-selling American writer whose work has earned a number of awards, including, among numerous others, a Guggenheim Fellowship and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Strauss's 2011 book Half a Life, won the 2011 NBCC Award for memoir/autobiography. His most recent book, The Queen of Tuesday, came out in August, 2020. It is currently nominated for the Joyce Carol Oates Literary Prize.[1]

Early life[edit]

Strauss was born in the Long Island town of Roslyn Harbor. He attended Tufts University, where he studied with Jay Cantor. After attending graduate school at New York University, he played guitar in a band with Jonathan Coulton[2]


His ALA Alex Award-winning, best-selling 2000 first novel Chang & Eng, – a runner-up for the Barnes & Noble Discover Award, the Literary Lions Award, a Borders Award winner, and a nominee for the PEN Hemingway award, among others – is based on the lives of the famous conjoined twins Chang and Eng. Chang & Eng was a Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year, a Newsweek Best Book of the Year, among others. The rights to the novel were optioned to Disney, for the director Julie Taymor; the actor Gary Oldman purchased the rights from Disney. Strauss and Oldman are together adapting Chang and Eng for the screen.

Strauss, Kathryn Harrison and Elizabeth Wurtzel on a panel entitled "Exposing A Difficult Past" at the 2010 Brooklyn Book Festival.

Strauss's second book, The Real McCoy (2002), was based on the life of the boxer Charles "Kid McCoy." "The Real McCoy" was named a New York Times Notable Book," and one of the "25 Best Books of the Year," by the New York Public Library.

It was after this novel that Strauss won a Guggenheim Fellowship in Fiction Writing.

Strauss's third novel, More Than It Hurts You, his first in a contemporary setting, was published by PenguinPutnam in 2008. The book made a number of year-end best-book lists, and was also a national bestseller—reaching as high as No. 3 on both the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News lists, and No. 6 on the New York Post list, in July 2008. Publicity for the book was strong, and Strauss blogged about his extensive book-tour for Newsweek, and was featured on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and Good Morning America.

He appeared on This American Life in a July 2008 episode titled "Life After Death," in which he talks about the effects of a traffic accident during high school, in which a classmate on a bicycle swerved in front of his car, and was killed. Although he could not have avoided the accident, and was not at fault, he still felt guilty, and it affected him for decades.[3]

His next book, Half a Life is a memoir concerning that traffic accident; it was published by McSweeney's in September 2010, and was excerpted in GQ magazine, and This American Life, and also in The Times and The Daily Mail (UK). Half a Life was named an Entertainment Weekly Must Read and a The New York Times Editor's Pick—and a Best Book of the Year by NPR, Amazon.com, The Plain Dealer, and The San Francisco Chronicle, among many others. A critical favorite in the UK, Half a Life was called "a masterpiece" by Robert McCrum in The Guardian,[4] "one of the best books I have ever read" by Ali Catterall on The BBC,[5] as well as "precise, elegantly written, fresh, wise, and very sad ... indicative not only of a very talented writer, but of a proper human being" by Nick Hornby.[6]

Half a Life won the 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award (Autobiography).

His most recent book, The Queen of Tuesday, is a hybrid of fiction, biography, and memoir, focused around an imagined love-affair between the author's grandfather and Lucille Ball. Another critical success, it has received favorable reviews in The New York Times , The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, the New Yorker, the Los Angeles Times, among many others. In "New Pop Lit," Karl Wenclas wrote, "If Darin Strauss isn't the best contemporary American writer, he's near the top...No one could write a better book!".[7] On NBC News, Bill Goldstein said "I love this book... Brilliant."

Critical reception[edit]

Strauss has been called "a brave new voice in literature" by The Wall Street Journal,[8] and "one of the most sharp and spirited of his generation," by Powells Books, "sublime" and "brilliant" by The Boston Globe.[9]

Personal life[edit]

Strauss is married to the journalist Susannah Meadows, who writes a monthly Newly Released Books column for The New York Times' daily Arts Section. He is the father of identical twin boys. He currently resides in Brooklyn, New York, and teaches writing at New York University.[citation needed]

Awards and honors[edit]




Graphic Novel[edit]

  • Olivia Twist (2019)

Selected anthologies[edit]

  • Lit Riffs (2004)
  • The Dictionary of Failed Relationships (2004)
  • Coaches (2005)
  • A People's Fictional History of the United States (2006)
  • An Encyclopedia of Exes (2004)
  • Bloodshot: An Insomnia Anthology (2007)
  • Brooklyn Was Mine (2008)
  • Brothers (2009)
  • The Book of Dads (2009)
  • Top of The Order: Best-selling writers on Baseball (2010)


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Saka, Rasheeda (March 10, 2021). "Here are the finalists for the 2021 Joyce Carol Oates Prize". Literary Hub.
  2. ^ "Darin Strauss". wiki.jonathancoulton.com.
  3. ^ "This American Life #359". July 18, 2008.
  4. ^ McCrum, Robert (March 19, 2011). "To cut a long story short, brevity is best". The Guardian. London.
  5. ^ "Tuesday Book Club". February 18, 2011.
  6. ^ "Book Column". Believer Magazine. December 2010. Archived from the original on September 5, 2011.
  7. ^ Wenclas, Karl (August 26, 2020). "Is The Best Good Enough?". New Pop Lit. New York.
  8. ^ Flatley, Kate, The Wall Street Journal, page W10, June 2, 2000.
  9. ^ Graham, Renee, The Boston Globe, page B9, June 5, 2000.

External links[edit]