Chabon, Michael

Chabon, Michael,

1963–, American writer, b. Washington, D.C., B.A. Univ. of Pittsburgh, 1984, M.A. Univ. of California, Irvine, 1987. Chabon's novels combine intriguing plots, usually involving Jewish characters and families, with frequently wild humor and language that is at once brisk, metaphorical, and colloquial. He achieved success with his first novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh (1988; film, 2009), a coming-of-age tale set in 1980s Pittsburgh that features relationships and sexual experiences both straight and gay. His second, Wonder Boys (1995), tells of the problems experienced by a blocked writer and creative writing professor. The best-selling, Pulitzer Prize–winning Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (2000) rollicks through the personal and professional escapades in the 1930s and 40s of two young Jewish New Yorkers, cousins who create a wildly popular Nazi-fighting comic-book superhero, The Escapist. It also details much of the history of American comics and of the era that spawned them. The Yiddish Policemen's Union (2007) mingles detective story with science fiction, rewriting history to settle Jews in a homeland in Alaska and using Sitka as the setting for a murder mystery. Part fiction, part memoir, the episodic Moonglow (2016) is largely based on his dying grandfather's reminiscences. Chabon also has written other novels, a novella, short stories, essays, screenplays, children's and young adult books, and comics.
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The 58-member selection committee includes four time Academy Award-nominated actor Ed Harris; film critic Leonard Maltin; Fox Filmed Entertainment Chairman and CEO Tom Rothman; screenwriters Eric Roth, David Koepp, Robin Swicord, Steven Zaillian, and Nicholas Kazan; authors Michael Chabon, Michael Ondaatje, and Ayelet Waldman; and USC Deans Catherine Quinlan (Libraries), Elizabeth Daley (Cinematic Arts), and Madeline Puzo (Theatre).