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Culture

Stewart O‘Nan - Critical Analyst of the American Way of Life

The American author writes about people on the fringes of society and explores some of the great myths of American culture.

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Stewart O'Nan

Stewart O’Nan was born in Pittsburgh/PA in 1961, where he also grew up.

He studied aerospace engineering in College, and later worked testing airframes for a company on Long Island. During late night shifts, he found time to read the works of such authors as Camus and Dostoevsky.

It was around this time that Stewart O’Nan began to write short stories and made an attempt to write his first novel. As he himself put it: "The end result was a 650 page manuscript that bored its few readers so completely that they had no compunction to keep it a secret."

His early efforts to write short fiction seem to have been more successful: some of his short stories were published in magazines and one even won a literary award: the Ascent Fiction Prize.

Stewart O’Nan says this award helped encourage him to continue writing. He published a great deal in a short time in the following years. Among his writings were the novels Snow Angels, A World Away and A Prayer for the Dying.

Literary critics have said he "writes the way Edward Hopper painted," with spare, powerful language, about keeping faith in the face of despair.

Stewart O’Nan now lives and teaches in Hartford, Connecticut. He is also a regular contributer for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, one of Germany’s largest newspapers.

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