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Author John Irving was born in 1942 and has become one of America's premier novelists in the years since his first publication.
Although "The World According to Garp" seemed to launch him onto the literary scene, it was actually Irving's fourth book. His first novel, "Setting Free the Bears," was published in 1968 when Irving was 26 years old. The critical and commercial success of "Garp," however, is what made him a household name. The 1978 book, later made into a motion picture starring Robin Williams, was among three novels considered for the Pulitzer's 1979 Award in Fiction.
As of 2012, Irving has published 13 novels, several of which were made into films. One of those, "The Cider House Rules," earned Irving an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. Other films from his novels include "The Hotel New Hampshire" and "Simon Birch," an adaptation of his bestselling "A Prayer for Owen Meany." He chronicled his experiences with the film industry in the non-fiction "My Movie Business."
Irving is known to use themes repetitively in his novels, including New England settings, fatal accidents, missing parents and wrestling -- a sport he played and sometimes coaches at the high school level.