John Wray (novelist)
John Henderson (born 1971), better known by his pen name John Wray, is a novelist and regular contributor to The New York Times Magazine. Born in Washington, D.C., of an American father and Austrian mother, he is a citizen of both countries. He grew up in Buffalo, New York, attended the Nichols School for his high school education, and then graduated from Oberlin College, majoring in Biology. He dropped out of graduate school twice: first from New York University’s M.F.A. program in poetry, where he won an Academy of American Poets Prize, and then, a few years later, from University of Columbia’s fiction program. He currently lives in Brooklyn.
Wray's first novel, The Right Hand of Sleep, (Knopf, 2001) received positive reviews  and was awarded a Whiting Award. His second novel Canaan’s Tongue (2005) is based on the legend of the preacher John Murrell, described by Mark Twain in Life on the Mississippi. In connection with his second novel, he did a 600-mile tour by raft on the Mississippi River in 2005. In 2007 Wray was chosen by Granta magazine as one of the "Best of Young American Novelists".
His third novel, Lowboy (Farrar Straus & Giroux, 2008), is narrated by 16-year-old William Heller, a schizophrenic who has just escaped a mental institution, in the flight through the subways of Manhattan.
Wray was also frontman of the Brooklyn band Marmalade, which released the album Beautiful Soup in 2003. As part of the promotional activities surrounding the release of Lowboy, he recorded subway musicians for a Lowboy MP3 soundtrack.
He is a recipient of the 2010/2011 Berlin Prize Fellowship from the American Academy in Berlin.
He currently lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn, New York.
- The Right Hand of Sleep. Random House, Inc. 2001. ISBN 978-0-375-40651-5.
- Canaan’s Tongue. Random House, Inc. 2006. ISBN 978-1-4000-3381-2.
- Lowboy. Macmillan. 2009. ISBN 978-0-374-19416-1.
- "In the Tunnel". Granta (97: Best of Young American Novelists 2). Spring 2007.
- "Heady Metal". The New York Times Magazine. 28 May 2006.
- "Minister of Fear". The New York Times Magazine. 23 September 2007.
- "The Return of the One-Man Band". The New York Times Magazine. 18 May 2008.
- "The Making of Zach Galifianakis". The New York Times Magazine. 28 May 2009.
- "Janet Cardiff, George Bures Miller and the Power of Sound". The New York Times Magazine. 26 July 2012.
- "I Am the Real Nick Cave". The New York Times Magazine. 1 July 2014.
- Carey Harrison (May 20, 2001). "A Bird's-Eye View of Hell". New York Times Book Review. Retrieved March 14, 2012.
- Sam Lipsyte (July 10, 2005). "'Canaan's Tongue': Manhunt". New York Times Book Review. Retrieved March 14, 2012.
- Charles Bock (February 24, 2009). "Off His Meds, on the Uptown B". New York Times Book Review. Retrieved March 14, 2012.
- "Mary Ellen von der Heyden Fiction Fellow, Class of Fall 2010". American Academy in Berlin. Retrieved March 14, 2012.
- Official website
- Profile at The Whiting Foundation
- Boris Kachka (March 1, 2009). "Subway Stories". New York Magazine.
- Hugh Merwin (May 5, 2009). "John Wray, Author, Lowboy". gothamist.
- "John Wray, author of Lowboy, in interview", Three Monkeys, Andrew Lawless, April 2009
- "John Wray Biography", BookBrowse, April 7, 2009
- "Living With Music: John Wray", The New York Times, GREGORY COWLES, March 18, 2009