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Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon comes to University of Calgary

Michael ChabonPulitzer Prize-winning writer Michael Chabon — author of bestselling novels The Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Wonder Boys and The Yiddish Policemen’s Union — came to the University of Calgary for a Feb. 16 reading and lecture at MacEwan Hall. Chabon appeared as the university’s 2016-17 Distinguished Visiting Writer at an event that is the annual highlight of the long-running Calgary Distinguished Writers Program (CDWP).

Past Distinguished Visiting Writers have included Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman, Zadie Smith, Art Spiegelman, Oliver Sacks and Michael Ondaatje, among other literary stars.

Chabon, whose latest novel Moonglow was published in November, first came to prominence in the late ‘80s while studying creative writing at the University of California, Irvine, when a professor submitted his master’s thesis to a literary agent, sparking a major bidding war. The resulting novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, became a bestseller and put Chabon on the literary map.

His next novel, Wonder Boys (1995) was turned into an acclaimed hit movie starring Michael Douglas and Tobey Maguire. He followed that up with The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (2000) a universally acclaimed novel about two Jewish comic book creators. The book won a Pulitzer Prize, among its long list of elite literary awards.

Another hugely acclaimed Chabon novel, The Yiddish Policemen’s Union (2007) — a hardboiled detective novel set in an alternative world where European Jewish refugees take shelter in Alaska instead of Israel — won both the Hugo Award and the Nebula Award.

Chabon is a celebrated essayist as well, voted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2012. His next book, a collection of essays about 50 years of Israeli occupation in Palestine, co-written with his wife, the novelist Ayelet Waldman, will be released in 2017.

Chabon has also had considerable success writing children’s books, comic books and screenplays. In 2015 he collaborated with acclaimed pop music producer Mark Ronson, writing lyrics for Ronson’s 2015 album Uptown Special.