Adam Johnson is a Pulitzer Prize winning American novelist and short story writer. He won the Pulitzer for his 2012 novel, The Orphan Master's Son. He is also a professor of English at Stanford University with a focus on creative writing.
Johnson was born in South Dakota and raised in Arizona. He earned a BA in Journalism from Arizona State University in 1992; an MFA from the writing program at McNeese State University in 1996; and a PhD in English from Florida State University in 2000. Johnson is currently a San Francisco writer and associate professor in creative writing at Stanford University. He founded the Stanford Graphic Novel Project and was named "one of the nation's most influential and imaginative college professors" by Playboy Magazine.
Johnson is the author of the novel The Orphan Master's Son (2012), which Michiko Kakutani, writing in The New York Times, has called, "a daring and remarkable novel, a novel that not only opens a frightening window on the mysterious kingdom of North Korea, but one that also excavates the very meaning of love and sacrifice." Johnson's interest in the topic arose from his sensitivity to the language of propaganda, wherever it occurs. Johnson also wrote the short-story collection Emporium and the novel Parasites Like Us, which won a California Book Award in 2003. His work has been published in Esquire, Harper's Magazine, Tin House, and The Paris Review, as well as Best New American Voices and The Best American Short Stories. Recently his short story "George Orwell was a Friend of Mine" was published by 21st Editions in The Janus Turn with photographs in platinum by George Tice.
Johnson's work has been translated into French, Dutch, Japanese, Spanish, German, Italian, Hebrew, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Catalan and Serbian and focuses on characters at the edge of society for whom isolation and disconnection are nearly permanent conditions. Michiko Kakutani described the central theme "running through his tales is also a melancholy melody of longing and loss: a Salingeresque sense of adolescent alienation and confusion, combined with an acute awareness of the randomness of life and the difficulty of making and sustaining connections."
According to Daniel Mendelsohn, writing for New York Magazine, “Johnson's oh-so-slightly futuristic flights of fancy, his vaguely Blade Runner–esque visions of a cluttered, anaerobic American culture, illustrate something very real, very current: the way we must embrace the unknown, take risks, in order to give flavor and meaning to life.” A strain of absurdity also runs through his work, causing it to be described as "a funky new science fiction that was part irony and part pure dread." "Teen Sniper" is about young sniper prodigy enlisted by the Palo Alto police department to suppress the disgruntled workers of Silicon Valley. "The Canadanaut" follows a remote team of Canadian weapons developers who race to beat the Americans to the moon.
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