David Guterson

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David Guterson
David Guterson 2013 at Cologne
David Guterson in April 2013
Born (1956-05-04) May 4, 1956 (age 65)
Seattle, Washington
Alma materUniversity of Washington
Notable worksSnow Falling on Cedars
Notable awardsGuggenheim Fellowship
PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction
SpouseRobin Guterson[1]

David Guterson (/ˈɡʌtərsən/ GUT-ər-sən; born May 4, 1956) is an American novelist, short story writer, poet, journalist, and essayist. He is best known as the author of the bestselling Japanese American internment novel Snow Falling on Cedars.

Early life[edit]

David Guterson was born May 4, 1956, in Seattle, Washington the son of criminal defense lawyer Murray Guterson.[2] During his childhood, he attended Seattle Public Schools, went to Roosevelt High School and later attended the University of Washington where he earned Bachelor of Arts Degree in English literature and a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing.[3] Guterson is also a Guggenheim Fellow.[4]


Before writing professionally, Guterson worked as a teacher for 10 years at Bainbridge High School.[1] It was during his teaching career that Guterson began to publish stories and essays in small magazines and periodicals, later selling pieces to Esquire, Sports Illustrated and Harper's Magazine.[2] Published in 1989, his first book, The Country Ahead of Us, the Country Behind was a collection of short stories set mostly in the Pacific Northwest.[5] His second book, Family Matters: Why Homeschooling Makes Sense, was published in 1992 and contained essays on family and education.[1] As of 2014 his third, and so far most popular novel, is Snow Falling on Cedars, published in 1994.[6]

Guterson's freelance journalism included articles on environmental issues, travel writing and human interest features.[7]


Guterson is best known as the author of Snow Falling on Cedars (1994)[5] and was the recipient of the 1995 PEN/Faulkner Award.[8] To date, the novel has sold nearly four million copies[9] and was adapted into a screenplay for the 1999 film of the same title. The film was directed by Scott Hicks and starred Ethan Hawke, James Cromwell, Sam Shepard, and Max von Sydow.[10] It went on to receive an Academy Award nomination for cinematography.[11]

Guterson's subsequent novels include East of the Mountains (1999),[12] Our Lady of the Forest (2003),[13] The Other (2008),[14] and Ed King (2011).[15]

Personal life[edit]

Guterson married Robin Guterson at age 23 and has five children and three grandchildren.[3] Currently, he lives on Bainbridge Island in Puget Sound,[16][17] and is a co-founder of Field's End, an organization for writers.[18]


  • The Country Ahead of Us, the Country Behind: Stories (1989)[5]
  • Family Matters: Why Homeschooling Makes Sense (Non-fiction) (1992)[1]
  • Snow Falling on Cedars (1994)[5]
  • The Drowned Son (Stories)(1996)[19]
  • East of the Mountains (1999)[12]
  • Our Lady of the Forest (2003)[13]
  • The Other (2008)[14]
  • Ed King (2011)[15]
  • Songs for a Summons (Poetry) (Feb. 10, 2014)[20]
  • Problems with People: Stories (June 3, 2014)[5]


  1. ^ a b c d Mathews, Linda (29 February 1996). "AT HOME WITH: David Guterson;Amid the Cedars, Serenity and Success". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  2. ^ a b "David Guterson". www.barnesandnoble.com. Barnes & Noble. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  3. ^ a b Chow, Kat (1 November 2011). "An interview with Honors alum David Guterson". www.washington.edu. University of Washington. Archived from the original on 22 December 2014. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  4. ^ "David Guterson". www.gf.org. John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Archived from the original on 3 October 2013. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  5. ^ a b c d e Peschel, Joseph. "'Problems With People' By David Guterson". www.bostonglobe.com. The Boston Globe. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  6. ^ Charles, Roy (8 April 2014). "David Guterson looks back 20 years later on 'Snow Falling on Cedars'". The Washington Post. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  7. ^ University of Maine, Farmington; David Guterson biography Archived 2009-11-22 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "New Novelist Wins Faulkner". Los Angeles Times. Associated Press. 18 April 1995. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  9. ^ Wroe, Nick (2 June 1999). "Death after life". www.theguardian.com. The Guardian. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  10. ^ Holden, Stephen (22 December 1999). "Prejudice Lingers in a Land of Mists". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  11. ^ "Oscar nominations 2000". www.theguardian.com. The Guardian. 15 February 2000. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  12. ^ a b Kakutani, Michiko (9 April 1999). "'East of the Mountains': Distracting Detours in the Hunt for a Final Exit". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  13. ^ a b Amidon, Stephen (1 November 2003). "Stephen Amidon on David Guterson's Our Lady of the Forest, a rich but uneven tale of faith and credulity". www.theguardian.com. The Guardian. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  14. ^ a b Barcott, Bruce (15 June 2008). "Into the Woods". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  15. ^ a b Goodwillie, David (23 November 2011). "Mama's Boy". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  16. ^ Local authors, Bainbridge Public Library, March 26, 2011, archived from the original on 2012-01-19, retrieved 2012-01-25
  17. ^ "2007 Island Treasure Award", bainbridgeartshumanities.org/, Bainbridge Island Arts and Humanities Council, retrieved 30 December 2014
  18. ^ "Our History". www.fieldsend.org. Field's End. Archived from the original on 16 February 2012. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  19. ^ Alonso, Kassten. "David Guterson's incisive 'Problems with People': book review". www.oregonlive.com. The Oregonian. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  20. ^ "Poetry by David Guterson tops list of local reads". seattletimes.com/. The Seattle Times. Retrieved 30 December 2014.

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