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New biography of John Updike due April 24

1 of 1 The young writer as he features on the cover of Adam Begley's new biography, Updike.
The young writer as he features on the cover of Adam Begley's new biography, Updike.

Adam Begley's biography charts in 576 pages, the life of the revered American author John Updike, who died, aged 76, in 2009.

Adam Begley’s biography, Updike (published by HarperCollins on April 24) examines the life of the unusually prolific and industrious writer who won the Pulitzer prize three times.

Updike's best-known works include Couples, first published in 1968, and the four novels that comprise the 'Rabbit' Angstrom tetralogy. There was a later novella relating to Rabbit's daughter, but the four main novels concluded with the masterful Rabbit at Rest (1990).

The writer's 1984 novel, The Witches of Eastwick, was adapted as a movie, released in 198, starring Cher, Susan Sarandon and Jack Nicholson.  

In 2008 the editors of the UK's Literary Review magazine awarded Updike their Bad Sex in Fiction Lifetime Achievement Award, which celebrates "crude, tasteless or ridiculous sexual passages in modern literature."  

In total, the Pennsylvania- born writer published more than twenty novels, over a dozen short story collections, along with poetry, art criticism, literary criticism, a play and books for children. 

He viewed himself as a literary spy in small-town America, who took on the challenge of transcribing “middleness with all its grits, bumps and anonymities.”  He once declared:  “When I write, I aim my mind not towards New York but towards a vague spot east of Kansas.”

Updike’s two marriages, his enduring religious faith and his extra-marital affairs all fed his fiction, and their origins in Updike's personal life are vividly presented in Begley’s biography. 

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