Don DeLillo Birth:
Don DeLillo was born November 20, 1936 in The Bronx, New York.
Don DeLillo Background and Writing:
The son of Italian immigrants, Don DeLillo grew up in an Italian neighborhood in The Bronx. His interest in literature blossomed when, at 18-years-old, he had a job as a parking attendant, during which he would spend hours reading the works of Joyce, Faulkner, and Hemingway. He attended nearby Fordham University where he studied Communications Arts, after which he briefly worked as a copywriter at the ad agency of Ogilvy & Mather.
In 1964, DeLillo published his first short story, "The River Jordan," in Cornell University's literary magazine, and shortly thereafter set to work on his first novel, Americana (1971), about "a television network programmer who hits the road in search of the big picture." Four novels followed during the 1970s (End Zone, Great Joness Street, Ratner's Star, Players, and Running Dog). His own favorite of these, Ratner's Star, is a "picaresque story of a 14-year-old math genius who joins an international consortium of mad scientists decoding an alien message."
In 1978, DeLillo was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, the funds of which he used to travel the Middle East and settle in Greece. The 1980s saw more complex work from DeLillo, including The Names
, a thriller surrounding a Middle Eastern cult of assasins, and White Noise
(1985), DeLillo's post-modern skewering of consumerisms and media for which he won the National Book Award
(1988), DeLillo's heavily-researched, speculative fiction account of Lee Harvey Oswald's life up to the assassination of JFK became a bestseller and is broadly considered one of the best books on the subject.
For Mao II
, about a reclusive novelist who becomes embroiled in a hostage crisis in Beirut, DeLillo won a PEN/Faulkner Award and received a Pulitzer Prize finalist nomination, after which he spent several years working on the highly-acclaimed Underworld
(1997), his epic account of the Cold War.
, DeLillo has written four more novels: The Body Artist
, Falling Man
, and Point Omega
. In 2011, he published his first collection of short stories, The Angel Esmeralda
, containing nine stories written between 1979 and 2011.
More Authors By Name: