Darin Strauss

Last updated

Darin Strauss
Darin Strauss 2011 Shankbone.jpg
Strauss before the 2010 National Book Critics Circle awards; his Half a Life won in autobiography
Born Roslyn Harbor (Long Island), United States
Period21st century
Spouse Susannah Meadows

Darin Strauss (born March 1, 1970) is a best-selling American writer whose work has earned a number of awards, including, among numerous others, a Guggenheim Fellowship and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Strauss's 2011 book Half a Life, won the 2011 NBCC Award for memoir/autobiography. His most recent book, The Queen of Tuesday, came out in August, 2020. It is currently nominated for the Joyce Carol Oates Literary Prize. [1]


Early life

Strauss was born in the Long Island town of Roslyn Harbor. He attended Tufts University, where he studied with Jay Cantor. After attending graduate school at New York University, he played guitar in a band with Jonathan Coulton [2]


His ALA Alex Award-winning, best-selling 2000 first novel Chang & Eng , – a runner-up for the Barnes & Noble Discover Award, the Literary Lions Award, a Borders Award winner, and a nominee for the PEN Hemingway award, among others – is based on the lives of the famous conjoined twins Chang and Eng. Chang & Eng was a Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year, a Newsweek Best Book of the Year, among others. The rights to the novel were optioned to Disney, for the director Julie Taymor; the actor Gary Oldman purchased the rights from Disney. Strauss and Oldman are together adapting Chang and Eng for the screen.

Strauss, Kathryn Harrison and Elizabeth Wurtzel on a panel entitled "Exposing A Difficult Past" at the 2010 Brooklyn Book Festival. Strauss Harrison Wurtzel BBF 2010.jpg
Strauss, Kathryn Harrison and Elizabeth Wurtzel on a panel entitled "Exposing A Difficult Past" at the 2010 Brooklyn Book Festival.

Strauss's second book, The Real McCoy (2002), was based on the life of the boxer Charles "Kid McCoy." "The Real McCoy" was named a New York Times Notable Book," and one of the "25 Best Books of the Year," by the New York Public Library.

It was after this novel that Strauss won a Guggenheim Fellowship in Fiction Writing.

Strauss's third novel, More Than It Hurts You, his first in a contemporary setting, was published by PenguinPutnam in 2008. The book made a number of year-end best-book lists, and was also a national bestseller—reaching as high as No. 3 on both the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News lists, and No. 6 on the New York Post list, in July 2008. Publicity for the book was strong, and Strauss blogged about his extensive book-tour for Newsweek, and was featured on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and Good Morning America.

He appeared on This American Life in a July 2008 episode titled "Life After Death," in which he talks about the effects of a traffic accident during high school, in which a classmate on a bicycle swerved in front of his car, and was killed. Although he could not have avoided the accident, and was not at fault, he still felt guilty, and it affected him for decades. [3]

His next book, Half a Life is a memoir concerning that traffic accident; it was published by McSweeney's in September 2010, and was excerpted in GQ magazine, and This American Life , and also in The Times and The Daily Mail (UK). Half a Life was named an Entertainment Weekly Must Read and a The New York Times Editor's Pick—and a Best Book of the Year by NPR, Amazon.com, The Plain Dealer , and The San Francisco Chronicle , among many others. A critical favorite in the UK, Half a Life was called "a masterpiece" by Robert McCrum in The Guardian , [4] "one of the best books I have ever read" by Ali Catterall on The BBC, [5] as well as "precise, elegantly written, fresh, wise, and very sad ... indicative not only of a very talented writer, but of a proper human being" by Nick Hornby. [6]

Half a Life won the 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award (Autobiography).

His most recent book, The Queen of Tuesday, is a hybrid of fiction, biography, and memoir, focused around an imagined love-affair between the author's grandfather and Lucille Ball . Another critical success, it has received favorable reviews in The New York Times , The Boston Globe , The Washington Post , the New Yorker , the Los Angeles Times, among many others. In "New Pop Lit," Karl Wenclas wrote, "If Darin Strauss isn't the best contemporary American writer, he's near the top...No one could write a better book!". [7] On NBC News, Bill Goldstein said "I love this book... Brilliant."

Critical reception

Strauss has been called "a brave new voice in literature" by The Wall Street Journal , [8] and "one of the most sharp and spirited of his generation," by Powells Books, "sublime" and "brilliant" by The Boston Globe. [9]

Personal life

Strauss is married to the journalist Susannah Meadows, who writes a monthly Newly Released Books column for The New York Times' daily Arts Section. He is the father of identical twin boys. He currently resides in Brooklyn, New York, and teaches writing at New York University.[ citation needed ]

Awards and honors




Graphic Novel

Selected anthologies


See also

Related Research Articles

Gish Jen

Gish Jen is a contemporary American writer and speaker.

Larry McMurtry American novelist, essayist, bookseller

Larry Jeff McMurtry was an American novelist, essayist, bookseller, and screenwriter whose work was predominantly set in either the Old West or contemporary Texas. His novels included Horseman, Pass By (1962), The Last Picture Show (1966), and Terms of Endearment (1975), which were adapted into films. Films adapted from McMurtry's works earned 34 Oscar nominations.

Joyce Carol Oates American author

Joyce Carol Oates is an American writer. Oates published her first book in 1963 and has since published 58 novels, a number of plays and novellas, and many volumes of short stories, poetry, and nonfiction. Her novels Black Water (1992), What I Lived For (1994), and Blonde (2000) and short story collections The Wheel of Love (1970) and Lovely, Dark, Deep: Stories (2014) were each finalists for the Pulitzer Prize. She has won many awards for her writing, including the National Book Award, for her novel them (1969), two O. Henry Awards, the National Humanities Medal, and the Jerusalem Prize (2019).

National Book Critics Circle Award Annual American literary awards

The National Book Critics Circle Awards are a set of annual American literary awards by the National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) to promote "the finest books and reviews published in English". The first NBCC awards were announced and presented January 16, 1976.

Chang-Rae Lee Korean-American novelist

Chang-rae Lee is a Korean-American novelist and a professor of creative writing at Stanford University. He was previously Professor of Creative Writing at Princeton and director of Princeton's Program in Creative Writing.

The Underground Literary Alliance is a Philadelphia-based and internationally membered group of writers, zinesters and DIY writers. They seek to expose what they see as the corruption and insularity in the American book-publishing establishment while providing alternative avenues for writers who don't easily fit into mainstream institutions and agendas.

George Saunders American writer of short stories and other literature

George Saunders is an American writer of short stories, essays, novellas, children's books, and novels. His writing has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's, McSweeney's, and GQ. He also contributed a weekly column, American Psyche, to the weekend magazine of The Guardian between 2006 and 2008.

Lan Samantha Chang

Lan Samantha Chang is an American writer of novels and short stories.

David Shields American author and film director

David Shields is an American writer and filmmaker who uses collage to destabilize genre. He is the author of twenty-two books, including Reality Hunger and The Thing About Life Is That One Day You’ll Be Dead and the director of Lynch: A History. Shields’s fiction and nonfiction have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Harper’s, Esquire, Yale Review, and dozens of other publications.

Bernard Chang

Bernard Chang is a Canadian-American artist/designer best known for his work in the comic book industry and entertainment design.

Laila Lalami

Laila Lalami is a Moroccan-American novelist, essayist, and professor. After earning her Licence ès Lettres degree in Morocco, she received a fellowship to study in the United Kingdom (UK), where she earned an MA in linguistics.

Peter Orner is an American writer. He is the author of two novels, two story collections and a book of essays. Orner holds the Professorship of English and Creative Writing at Dartmouth College and was formerly a Professor of Creative Writing at San Francisco State University. He spent 2016 and 2017 on a Fulbright in Namibia teaching at the University of Namibia.

Akhil Sharma is an Indian-American author and professor of creative writing. His first published novel An Obedient Father won the 2001 Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award. His second, Family Life, won the 2015 Folio Prize and 2016 International Dublin Literary Award.

Jonathan Eig

Jonathan Eig is an American journalist and biographer and the author of five books. His most recent book, Ali: A Life, is a biography of Muhammad Ali.

Pleiades: Literature in Context is a biannual literary journal that publishes contemporary poetry, fiction, essays, and book reviews. It was founded by undergraduate students at the University of Central Missouri in 1981. The non-profit journal is published by the University of Central Missouri's Department of English and Philosophy. Pleiades publishes work from both established and emerging authors, and dedicates half of each issue to detailed book reviews of recent small-press poetry and fiction. Pleiades is funded by the University of Central Missouri and grants from the Missouri Arts Council. Its headquarters is in Warrensburg, Missouri.

Victoria Chang is an American poet and children's writer. Her fifth book of poems, OBIT, was published by Copper Canyon Press in 2020. It won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the PEN Voelcker Award, and the Anisfield-Wolf Book Prize and was a finalist for National Book Critics Circle Award, the Griffin International Poetry Prize, and long listed for the National Book Award. It was also named a New York Times Notable Book, a New York Times Best 100 Books of the Year, a TIME Magazine, NPR, Boston Globe, and Publisher's Weekly Best Book of the Year.

<i>Half a Life</i> (memoir)

Half a Life is a book by American author Darin Strauss. It received the National Book Critics Circle Award for memoir in 2011. The memoir grew out of a 2008 This American Life episode entitled "Life After Death," in which the author addressed the effects of a high school traffic accident.

<i>Chang & Eng</i> (novel) Book by Darin Strauss

Chang & Eng is a book by American author Darin Strauss, published in 2000. It was a nominee for multiple awards, including the Pen Hemingway, the Barnes & Noble Discover Award, the New York Public Library's Literary Lions Award, and a winner of the American Library Association's Alex Award.

Bernice L. McFadden is an American novelist. She has also written humorous erotica under the pseudonym Geneva Holliday.

<i>The Queen of Tuesday</i>

The Queen of Tuesday is a book by American author Darin Strauss, published in August 2020. It has been a critical and commercial success, with positive reviews in newspapers and radio and television broadcasts across the country. It was named a best book of the year in The Washington Post, The Millions, Literary Hub and others, and is currently a finalist for the Joyce Carol Oates Literary Prize.


  1. Saka, Rasheeda (March 10, 2021). "Here are the finalists for the 2021 Joyce Carol Oates Prize". Literary Hub.
  2. "Darin Strauss". wiki.jonathancoulton.com.
  3. "This American Life #359". July 18, 2008.
  4. McCrum, Robert (March 19, 2011). "To cut a long story short, brevity is best". The Guardian. London.
  5. "Tuesday Book Club". February 18, 2011.
  6. "Book Column". Believer Magazine. December 2010. Archived from the original on September 5, 2011.
  7. Wenclas, Karl (August 26, 2020). "Is The Best Good Enough?". New Pop Lit. New York.
  8. Flatley, Kate, The Wall Street Journal, page W10, June 2, 2000.
  9. Graham, Renee, The Boston Globe, page B9, June 5, 2000.