John Updike

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Reading, Pennsylvania
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Reading, Pennsylvania

John Updike was a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and the recipient of numerous prestigious literary honors. He is widely regarded as one of the best American writers of the twentieth century. Updike was a prolific writer whose novels mostly dealt with religion, sex, and the American middle class. “I prefer middles,” he famously stated, referring to regular Americans. Extremes collide in the middle, where uncertainty reigns supreme.” Because of their visual appeal and connection to the lives of Americans, many of his works have been adapted for film and television. He was a regular contributor to ‘The New Yorker, in addition to writing a number of novels and short stories. Updike was “the first American writer since Henry James to get himself fully articulated, the guy who removed the curse of incompleteness that had plagued American writing,” according to Adam Gopnik, a notable essayist, and writer. For its “rich description and language,” Updike’s prose style has always been the centerpiece of his novels, making them nearly distinctive. His books are not, however, his only notable works. He was a talented poet as well as a short story writer. He has published a big number of short stories, articles, and literary reviews, as well as a great number of poems. Read the biography below to learn more about this remarkable individual.

Childhood and Adolescence

Linda Grace and Wesley Russell Updike gave birth to John Updike in Pennsylvania. From a young age, his mother’s desire to write and get her works published served as an inspiration to him.
In 1950, he graduated from Governor Mifflin Senior High School and received a full scholarship to Harvard University, where he majored in English.

He became the president of the Harvard Lampoon after contributing cartoons to the in-house publication. In 1954, he earned a bachelor’s degree in English.
Following graduation, he went to the University of Oxford’s ‘The Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art’ to study graphic design.

John Updike’s Career

After returning to the United States, he went from Pennsylvania to New York, where he began his writing career by contributing to ‘The New Yorker.’
His first collection of poems, ‘The Carpentered Hen and Other Tame Creatures,’ was released in 1958, and his second, ‘The Same Door,’ was published in 1959.

In 1960, he and his family moved to Ipswich, Massachusetts, where he penned another of his works, ‘Rabbit, Run,’ and ‘The Centaur,’ which was published in 1963. Both volumes were well-received, and he was later awarded a National Book Award for them.

He continued to contribute to ‘The New Yorker till he came up with his next piece of art. In 1971, he published ‘Rabbit Redux,’ a sequel to ‘Rabbit Run.’
In 1979, he published ‘Too Far To Go,’ a collection of short stories.

In 1980, he published his next major work of writing, ‘Rabbit Is Rich,’ which received widespread critical praise.
He wrote ‘The Witches of Eastwick in 1984 and ‘Roger’s Version’ in 1989 after the success of the ‘Rabbit’ sequel.

In 1990, he wrote his final rabbit novel, ‘Rabbit At Rest,’ in which the protagonist dies. The book was a critical success, and he became one of the most well-known authors of his generation as a result of it.

He wrote a series of novels in the latter half of his career, the most notable of which was ‘In the Beauty of the Lilies,’ published in 1996.

He wrote ‘Terrorist’ in 2006, which received a lot of media attention despite receiving little critical acclaim.
In 2008, he published ‘The Widows of Eastwick,’ a sequel to one of his earlier works, ‘The Witches of Eastwick.’

His Major Projects

‘Harry ‘Rabbit’ Angstrom,’ which alludes to the four novels he published, namely ‘Rabbit, Run,’ ‘Rabbit Redux,’ ‘Rabbit Is Rich,’ and ‘Rabbit At Rest,’ is Updike’s most well-known work. The protagonist, Harry ‘Rabbit’ Angstrom, or simply ‘Rabbit,’ is a fictional man whose childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and death constitute the subject of the novels.

Another wonderful novel by this author, ‘The Witches of Eastwick,’ published in 1984, was transformed into a film, a television series, and multiple musicals.

Achievements & Awards

In 1982, Updike won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, as well as the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award, for his work “Rabbit Is Rich.”
After the release of his magnum opus, ‘Rabbit at Rest,’ he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for the second time in 1991.

Personal History and Legacy

In 1953, Updike married Mary E. Pennington, and their first child, Elizabeth, was born in 1955. Before divorcing in 1974, they had three additional children.

He married Martha Ruggles Bernhard in 1977 and lived with her for the rest of his life.
At the age of 76, he died of lung cancer.

Estimated Net worth

John is one of the wealthiest novelists and one of the most well-known. John Updike’s net worth is estimated to be $20 million, according to Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider.


This renowned American author is the only writer to have won two Pulitzer Prizes for fiction, with William Faulkner and Booth Tarkington.