September 19

This Day in History

Literary

Sep 19, 2000:

Michael Chabon's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel debuts

“The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay,” a novel by Michael Chabon about the glory years of the American comic book, is published on this day in 2000. The book went on to win the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

Chabon, who was born in Washington, D.C., in 1963, graduated from the University of Pittsburgh and earned a master’s degree in creative writing from the University of California, Irvine. His first novel, “The Mysteries of Pittsburgh,” a coming-of-age story set in the city named in the title, was written as his graduate school thesis. Published in 1988, the book became a best-seller and was later made into a movie.

Chabon spent five years working on his next novel before abandoning it and starting on a new book, “Wonder Boys.” Released in 1995, “Wonder Boys” centers on an aging professor struggling to complete his years-in-the-making second tome; a Hollywood adaptation starring Michael Douglas and Tobey Maguire was released in 2000. That year also saw the debut of Chabon’s third novel, “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay,” an epic story about comic book creators in New York in the mid-20th century. In addition to winning the Pulitzer Prize, “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay” received a slew of other literary honors.

Among Chabon’s other credits are “Summerland,” a 2002 fantasy novel for young adults; “The Yiddish Policemen’s Union,” a 2007 detective novel; and “Manhood for Amateurs: The Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband, Father, and Son,” a 2009 essay collection. He has also written screenplays and several collections of short stories.

Chabon is married to novelist Ayelet Waldman, with whom he has four children. In 2005, Waldman became known for a controversial essay on marriage and motherhood in which she wrote, “I love my husband more than I love my children.”

In 2010, Chabon was elected the chairman of the board of directors of the MacDowell Colony, a prestigious artists’ retreat based in Peterborough, New Hampshire, where he once penned parts of “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay.”

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