Literary realist John Updike used the scaffold of his own life, including his lung cancer diagnosis, to explore the shared experiences of our time.
Many writers achieve fame. John Updike attained something more: As a novelist, short story writer, poet and critic, he conquered the literary world, becoming one of only three authors to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction not once, but twice.
Updike’s eye for detail emerged during his childhood in Shillington, Pennsylvania, a small town outside of Reading, itself about an hour’s drive from Philadelphia. Shillington was not a place of prominence. It mostly knew the day-to-day, the conversations that play out at work, with family or with oneself. There, Updike found an emotional frontier that he shaped into stories that spoke to millions around the world.