Tim O’Brien short biography


Tim O’Brien is an American novelist best known for his work of fiction, The Things They Carried (1990), a critically acclaimed collection of semi-autobiographical, interrelated short stories inspired by O’Brien’s experiences in the Vietnam War.

Tim O’Brien short biography

William Timothy “Tim” O’Brien was born on October 1, 1946 in Austin, Minnesota, and spent most of his youth in the small town of Worthington, Minnesota. He graduated summa cum laude from Macalester College in 1968. From February 1969 to March 1970 he served as infantryman with the U.S. Army in Vietnam, after which he pursued graduate studies in government at Harvard University. He worked as a national affairs reporter for The Washington Post from 1973 to 1974.

His short fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Esquire, Harper’s, The Atlantic, Playboy, and Ploughshares, and in several editions of The Best American Short Stories and The O. Henry Prize Stories. In 1987, O’Brien received the National Magazine Award for the short story, “The Things They Carried,” and in 1999 it was selected for inclusion in THE BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES OF THE CENTURY edited by John Updike. O’Brien is the recipient of literary awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. He has been elected to both the Society of American Historians and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. O’Brien currently holds the University Endowed Chair in Creative Writing at Texas State University. He lives with his wife and children in Austin, Texas.

Awards and honors Tim O’Brien

O’Brien won the 1979 National Book Award for Going After Cacciato.

His novel In the Lake of the Woods won the James Fenimore Cooper Prize for Best Historical Fiction in 1995.

In August 2012, O’Brien received the Dayton Literary Peace Prize Foundation’s Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award.

In June 2013, O’Brien was awarded the $100,000 Pritzker Military Library Literature Award

Works Tim O’Brien

  • If I Die in a Combat Zone, Box Me Up and Ship Me Home (1973)
  • Northern Lights (1975)
  • “Where Have You Gone, Charming Billy?” (1975)
  • Going After Cacciato (1978)
  • The Nuclear Age (1985)
  • The Things They Carried (1990)
  • In the Lake of the Woods (1994)
  • Tomcat in Love (1998)
  • July, July (2002)
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