John Burnham Schwartz

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John Burnham Schwartz is an American novelist and screenwriter.


John Burnham Schwartz was born in 1965 and grew up in New York City. He is best known for his novels Reservation Road (1998) and The Commoner (2008). His fifth novel, Northwest Corner, a sequel to Reservation Road, was published in July 2011. His books have been translated into two dozen languages.

At Harvard College, he majored in Japanese studies, and upon graduation accepted a position with a Wall Street investment bank, before finally turning the position down after selling his first novel. That book, Bicycle Days, a coming of age story about a young American man in Japan, was published in 1989 on his 24th birthday. It went on to become a critically acclaimed bestseller.

Reservation Road, his second novel, about a family tragedy and its aftermath, published in 1998, was also critically acclaimed and a bestseller, and in 2007 was made into a major motion picture based on Schwartz’s screenplay. The film starred Joaquin Phoenix, Mark Ruffalo, and Jennifer Connelly, and was directed by Terry George.

Schwartz went on to publish Claire Marvel (2002), a love story set in America and France, and, in 2008, The Commoner, a novel inspired by the lives of the current empress and crown princess of Japan. Spanning seventy years of modern Japanese history and looking deep into the secret, ancient world of the Japanese Imperial Family, The Commoner won Schwartz the best reviews and sales of his career.

Schwartz was a recipient of a 1991 Lyndhurst Prize for mastery in the art of fiction. His journalism has appeared widely in such publications as The New Yorker, The New York Times Book Review, The Boston Globe, and Vogue, and numerous essays of his have been anthologized.

Since writing the script for Reservation Road, Schwartz has become an accomplished screenwriter. He wrote the screenplay adaptation of Dana Canedy’s memoir A Journal for Jordan, for Denzel Washington and Sony Pictures. And he recently[when?] adapted Nancy Horan’s bestselling novel Loving Frank for Lionsgate and producer Todd Black. Currently, he is writing a television pilot for the cable channel Showtime for a series inspired by James B. Stewart’s non-fiction book Den of Thieves.

Schwartz has taught at Harvard, The University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and Sarah Lawrence College, and he is Literary Director of the Sun Valley Writers’ Conference, one of the leading literary festivals in the United States.

He lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife, screenwriter and food writer Aleksandra Crapanzano, and their young son Garrick. [1]




  1. ^ [1] Random House Web site, Web page titled "John Burnham Schwartz: author spotlight" accessed September 15, 2006

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