Stewart O'Nan

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Stewart O'Nan
Born (1961-02-04) February 4, 1961 (age 58)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
NationalityUnited States
Period1993 - present
GenreLiterary fiction, horror fiction

Stewart O'Nan (born February 4, 1961) is an American novelist.

Life and work[edit]


Born on February 4, 1961, to John Lee O'Nan II and Mary Ann O'Nan (née Smith). He and his brother John were raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where their father worked for Alcoa. He earned his B.S. in Aerospace Engineering at Boston University in 1983.[1] While in Boston, O'Nan became a fan of the Red Sox. On October 27, 1984, he married Trudy Anne Southwick, his high school sweetheart. They moved to Long Island, New York, and he went to work for Grumman Aerospace Corporation in Bethpage, New York, as a test engineer from 1984 to 1988. Encouraged by his wife to pursue a career in writing, they moved to Ithaca, New York, and O'Nan returned to college and graduated with his M.F.A. from Cornell University in 1992. His family and he then moved to Edmond, Oklahoma, and he taught at the University of Central Oklahoma and the University of New Mexico.

Short stories[edit]

O'Nan's first book, and only collection of short stories, In the Walled City, was awarded the 1993 Drue Heinz Literature Prize.[2] Many of the stories in that collection also originally appeared in publications such as Ascent (the short story "Econoline"), Columbia (the short story "The Third of July"), Jam To-Day (the short story "Mr Wu Thinks"), The Nebraska Review (the short story "Winter Haven), Northwest Review (the short story "The Finger"), The South Dakota Review (the short story "The Calling") and The Threepenny Review (the short story "Steak").


Also in 1993, O'Nan was able to find a publisher for his second book, and first novel, Snow Angels—based on the story "Finding Amy" from In the Walled City—when the manuscript earned him the first Pirate's Alley Faulkner Prize for the Novel, awarded by the Pirate's Alley Faulkner Society of New Orleans.[3] In 2007 Snow Angels was adapted for a film of the same title, directed by David Gordon Green, who also wrote the screenplay, and which starred Sam Rockwell and Kate Beckinsale.

In 1995, his family and he moved to Avon, Connecticut. He was a writer-in-residence and taught creative writing at Trinity College in nearby Hartford until 1997. The research he did for his novel The Names of the Dead led to the creation of a class that studied Vietnam War memoirs as a form of literature, which he also initially taught. In 1996, Granta named him one of America's Best Young Novelists.[4]

In a 2002 article, "Finding Time to Write," he wrote:

A Face in the Crowd is a novella by Stephen King and O'Nan, originally published as an e-book on August 21, 2012, as well as an audiobook, read by Craig Wasson.[6]

In 2015, O'Nan released a novel entitled West of Sunset, about the last days of writer F. Scott Fitzgerald as he moves out to Los Angeles after being ruined financially and experiencing health problems, after also his wife is put in an insane asylum.[7] Filmmaker James Ponsoldt has been in negotiations to write and direct a film adaptation of the book, with actors like Tom Hanks, Emily Watson and Alicia Vikander currently being attached.[8]

Nonfiction nooks[edit]

When he researched The Circus Fire, he advertised in The Hartford Courant and received many answers to his request for interviews with survivors of the Hartford Circus fire.[9]

In the spring of 2005 O'Nan spoke at the Lucy Robbins Welles Library in Newington, Connecticut, as the featured author in its One Book, 4 Towns program. In an article for Connecticut Magazine, when asked about Faithful: Two Diehard Boston Red Sox Fans Chronicle the Historic 2004 Season, the book he co-authored with Stephen King, O'Nan replied, "I always tell my friends that the luckiest thing that ever happened to me was becoming a Red Sox fan."[10]

Screenplays and other writing[edit]

In 2008, Lonely Road Books sold out its pre-orders for O'Nan's latest writing, a screenplay simply titled Poe. It is a dramatic retelling of the life of Edgar Allan Poe. The screenplay was released as a limited edition of 200 copies and as a lettered edition of 26 copies. It features a foreword by Roger Corman and frontispieces by Jill Bauman.


Short story collections[edit]


  • Transmission (Arjuna Library, 1987)
  • Snow Angels (Doubleday/BDD, 1994)
  • The Names of the Dead (Doubleday/BDD, 1996)
  • The Speed Queen (Doubleday/BDD, 1997)
  • A World Away (Henry Holt/Macmillan, 1998)
  • A Prayer for the Dying (Henry Holt/Macmillan, 1999)
  • Everyday People (Grove Press, 2001)
  • Wish You Were Here (Grove Press, 2002)
  • The Night Country (Farrar, Straus & Giroux/Macmillan, 2003)
  • The Good Wife (Farrar, Straus & Giroux/Macmillan, 2005)
  • Last Night at the Lobster (Viking/Penguin, 2007)
  • Songs for the Missing (Viking/Penguin, October 2008)
  • Emily, Alone (Viking/Penguin, March 2011)
  • The Odds (Viking/Penguin, January 2012)
  • A Face in the Crowd (Simon & Schuster Digital, August 2012) (e-book and audiobook novella co-written with Stephen King)
  • West of Sunset (Viking/Penguin/PRH, January 2015)
  • City of Secrets: a novel (Viking) 26 April 2016 ISBN 978-0670785964[11]



As editor[edit]

  • On Writers and Writing by John Gardner (Addison-Wesley, 1994)
  • The Vietnam Reader: The Definitive Collection of Fiction and Nonfiction on the War (Anchor Books, 1998)


  1. ^ Barnes & Noble, West of Sunset by Stewart O'Nan,
  2. ^ "Drue Heinz Literature Prize". University of Pittsburgh Press. 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-29.
  3. ^ "About the Competition: History of Success". The Pirate's Alley Faulkner Society, Inc. 2006. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-03-29.
  4. ^ "Granta 54: Best of Young American Novelists". Granta.
  5. ^ Stewart O'Nan. "Finding Time to Write" (Article). Nieman Reports 56.1 (Spring 2002):p 17(2). Retrieved 2007-08-15.
  6. ^ Caryn James, ‘West of Sunset,’ by Stewart O’Nan, New York Times Sunday Book Review,
  7. ^
  8. ^ Kevin Jagernauth, James Ponsoldt To Direct F. Scott Fitzgerald Drama 'West Of Sunset', The Playlist - IndieWire,
  9. ^ Good Reads, The Circus Fire,
  10. ^ Patricia D'Ascoli, Q&A: Stewart O'Nan, Connecticut Magazine,[permanent dead link]
  11. ^

External links[edit]

External links[edit]