VJ Books presents Stewart O'Nan!
Stewart O'Nan was born on February 4, 1961 to John Lee and Mary Ann O'Nan. He and his brother were raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
He earned his B.S. at Boston University in 1983. While in Boston, O'Nan became a fan of the Red Sox. On October 27, 1984, he married Trudy Anne Southwick, his high school sweetheart. They moved to Long Island, New York, and he went to work for Grumman Aerospace Corporation in Bethpage, New York, as a test engineer from 1984 to 1988.
Encouraged by his wife to pursue a career in writing, they moved to Ithaca, New York, and O'Nan returned to college and graduated with his M.F.A. from Cornell University in 1992. He and his family moved to Edmond, Oklahoma, and taught at the University of Central Oklahoma and the University of New Mexico.
O'Nan's first book, and only collection of short stories, In the Walled City, was awarded the 1993 Drue Heinz Literature Prize. The same year, he was able to find a publisher for his second book, and first novel, Snow Angels based on the story "Finding Amy" from In the Walled City when the manuscript earned him the first Pirate's Alley Faulkner Prize for the Novel. In 2007 Snow Angels was adapted for a film of the same title, directed by David Gordon Green, who also wrote the screenplay, and starring Sam Rockwell and Kate Beckinsale.
In 1995 he and his family moved to Avon, Connecticut. He was a writer-in-residence and taught creative writing at Trinity College in nearby Hartford until 1997. The research he did for his novel The Names of the Dead led to the creation of a class that studied Vietnam War memoirs as a form of literature, which he also initially taught. In 1996, Granta named him one of America's Best Young Novelists.
In a 2002 article, "Finding Time to Write", he wrote:
"Very simple things like keeping the manuscript with you at all times. Always keep it with you. That way you can always go back to it. Doesn't have to be the whole manuscript. Another way to do this is to bring only the very last sentence that you worked on--where you left off, basically. Bring it with you on a sheet of paper or index card. Keep it on your person so that if you're running around the building where you're working, you take that five seconds to pull it out and look at it and say, "Okay, oh, maybe I'll do this with it. Maybe I'll do something else with it. Maybe I'll fix it there."
In the spring of 2005 O'Nan spoke at the Lucy Robbins Welles Library in Newington, Connecticut, as the featured author in their One Book 4 Towns program. When asked about Faithful: Two Diehard Boston Red Sox Fans Chronicle the Historic 2004 Season, the book he co-authored with Stephen King, O'Nan replied, "Who would have thought that writing a book about the Red Sox would be the luckiest thing I ever did in my life.
O'Nan's latest novel, Songs for the Missing, hit the shelves December 2008.