John Irving will be speaking with Lan Samantha Chang, the Iowa Writers’ Workshop director, on October 13th at Hancher Auditorium in Iowa City. A graduate of the IWW himself, Irving’s most recent book is The Last Chairlift.
Graduating from the IWW in 1967, Irving was mentored by one of the workshop’s most celebrated authors, Kurt Vonnegut. Like Vonnegut, Irving’s books often veer from violence to comedy, in an unexpected and unnerving way.
Irving’s connections to Iowa, wrestling and writing are evident in his novels – Iowa settings and characters, (and wrestlers) pop up frequently.
When The World According to Garp was published in 1978, Irving’s literary stardom was assured. Garp was a long, strange saga – peopled with eccentric characters and shocking twists and turns. It was revolutionary in the way farce, tragedy and taboo subjects were woven together. In recent years, Irving has spoken about how many of the subjects he addressed in the seventies are relevant again.