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One of the world’s best-selling literary novelists, John Irving was born in Exeter, New Hampshire in 1942. He was educated at the University of Pittsburgh and University of New Hampshire, and also attended the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, where one of his teachers was Kurt Vonnegut.
His first novel, Setting Free the Bears, was published in 1968. His subsequent novels include The Water-Method Man (1972), The 158-Pound Marriage (1974), The World According to Garp (1978), The Hotel New Hampshire (1981), The Cider House Rules (1985), A Prayer for Owen Meany (1989), A Son of the Circus (1995), A Widow For One Year (1998), and most recently, The Fourth Hand (2002). A collection of fiction and nonfiction entitled Trying To Save Peggy Sneed was published in 1997. The author mused on his experiences with the film business, My Movie Business: A Memoir, published in 1999.
The Door in the Floor is the fifth work by Mr. Irving to be adapted for the screen. Among the earlier film versions of his work are The World According to Garp, the 1982 movie directed by George Roy Hill. The film brought screenwriter Steve Tesich a Writers Guild of America Award nomination and Academy Award nominations for actors Glenn Close and John Lithgow. The latter duo won awards from Los Angeles Film Critics Association, with Close also honored by the National Board of Review and Lithgow also honored by the New York Film Critics Circle.
Most recently, and most acclaimed, The Cider House Rules was released in 1999. Adapted by Mr. Irving, the film took over 13 years to make it to the screen, in the process going through several different directors. The film was finally helmed by Lasse Hallström, and was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. Michael Caine earned an Academy Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award for his portrayal of Dr. Wilbur Larch, and Mr. Irving himself took home an Oscar for his adapted screenplay. The National Board of Review selected Mr. Irving’s script as the year’s Best Screenplay, and he also received a Writers Guild of America Award nomination.
He is adapting his novel The Fourth Hand into a screenplay, and continues to work on additional screenplays as well as a new novel. His children’s book, A Sound Like Someone Trying Not To Make A Sound, will be published in the fall of 2004.