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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 68)
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
EducationUniversity of Washington (BA, MFA)
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]

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

Teaching, writing[edit]

Before writing professionally, Guterson worked as a teacher for 10 years at Bainbridge High School.[1] During that time he began having stories and essays published in small magazines and periodicals, and eventually sold pieces to Esquire, Sports Illustrated and Harper's Magazine.[2] His first book, The Country Ahead of Us, the Country Behind (1989) is a collection of short stories set mostly in the Pacific Northwest.[5] His second book, Family Matters: Why Homeschooling Makes Sense (1992) contains essays on family and education.[1]

Guterson's freelance journalism included articles on environmental issues, travel writing and human interest features.[6]

Snow Falling on Cedars, subsequent work[edit]

Guterson is best known as the author of Snow Falling on Cedars (1994),[5] for which he received the 1995 PEN/Faulkner Award.[7] To date, it has sold nearly four million copies[8] and was adapted into the 1999 film of the same title.[9]

His subsequent novels include East of the Mountains (1999),[10] which was adapted into a movie of the same title in 2021, Our Lady of the Forest (2003),[11] The Other (2008)[12] and Ed King (2011).[13]

Personal life[edit]

Guterson married his wife Robin when he was 23. They live on Bainbridge Island in Puget Sound[14][15] and have five children and three grandchildren.[3] He is a co-founder of Field's End, an organization for writers.[16]


  • 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)[17]
  • East of the Mountains (1999)[10]
  • Our Lady of the Forest (2003)[11]
  • The Other (2008)[12]
  • Ed King (2011)[13]
  • Songs for a Summons (Poetry) (Feb. 10, 2014)[18]
  • Problems with People: Stories (June 3, 2014)[5]
  • Turn Around Time: A Walking Poem for the Pacific Northwest (September 2019)[19]
  • The Final Case (January 11, 2022)[20]


  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. ^ University of Maine, Farmington; David Guterson biography Archived 2009-11-22 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "New Novelist Wins Faulkner". Los Angeles Times. Associated Press. 18 April 1995. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  8. ^ Wroe, Nick (2 June 1999). "Death after life". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  9. ^ Holden, Stephen (22 December 1999). "Prejudice Lingers in a Land of Mists". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ 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". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  12. ^ a b Barcott, Bruce (15 June 2008). "Into the Woods". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  13. ^ a b Goodwillie, David (23 November 2011). "Mama's Boy". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  14. ^ Local authors, Bainbridge Public Library, March 26, 2011, archived from the original on 2012-01-19, retrieved 2012-01-25
  15. ^ "2007 Island Treasure Award", bainbridgeartshumanities.org/, Bainbridge Island Arts and Humanities Council, archived from the original on 30 December 2014, retrieved 30 December 2014
  16. ^ "Our History". www.fieldsend.org. Field's End. Archived from the original on 16 February 2012. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  17. ^ Alonso, Kassten (17 June 2014). "David Guterson's incisive 'Problems with People': book review". www.oregonlive.com. The Oregonian. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  18. ^ "Poetry by David Guterson tops list of local reads". seattletimes.com/. The Seattle Times. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  19. ^ Boon, Sarah (2019-10-11). "David Guterson's book "Turn Around Time" applies mountaineering themes to youth, aging". Alpinist. Retrieved 2022-08-31.
  20. ^ Guterson, David. "The Final Case". David Guterson. Retrieved 2022-08-31.

External links[edit]