Born: November 6, 1952
Ohio connection: Birth
Michael Cunningham was born November 6, 1952 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Cunningham won the Pulitzer Prize for Literature and the PEN/Faulkner Award in 1999 for his 1998 novel The Hours, a creative reimagining of Virginia Woolf’s 1925 novel Mrs. Dalloway.
Cunningham grew up in Cincinnati and La Canada, California. He was educated at Stanford University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in English Literature in 1975. He then went on to earn an M.F.A. from the University of Iowa in 1982. He soon published his first novel, Golden States (1984). Some of Cunningham’s other books include A Home at the End of the World (1990), Specimen Days (2005), By Nightfall (2010), and The Snow Queen: A Novel (2014).
A film version of The Hours was directed by Stephen Daldry and featured Julianne Moore, Nicole Kidman and Meryl Streep. The film was released to general critical acclaim and received nine Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, and a win for Nicole Kidman as Best Actress. A film version of A Home at the End of the World was directed by Michael Mayer, and featured Colin Farrell, Robin Wright Penn, Dallas Roberts and Sissy Spacek. Cunningham and Susan Minot co-wrote the screenplay for her novel Evening; the film stars Vanessa Redgrave, Claire Danes, Toni Colette, Patrick Wilson, and Meryl Streep.
Cunningham's work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, The Paris Review, and other publications. His story “White Angel” was chosen for Best American Short Stories 1989, and another story, “Mister Brother,” appeared in the 2000 O. Henry Collection.
Cunningham is currently a senior lecturer in the English department at Yale University and lives in New York.
Michael Cunningham is the recipient of a Whiting Writers Award (1995), a Guggenheim Fellowship (1993), a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship (1988), and a Michener Fellowship from the University of Iowa (1982).