Readers around the world have embraced the vivid characters who tumble through the intricately imagined tales of John Irving. He published his first novel when he was 26, and won the National Book Award for The World According to Garp in 1980. Since then, every one of his novels has been an international best-seller, including The Hotel New Hampshire, The Cider House Rules and A Prayer for Owen Meany. As a boy, John Irving struggled with dyslexia. While other young people with this obstacle might have turned away from books and reading, the necessity of struggling over every word had the opposite effect on Irving; it taught him a deep respect for the power of language. After graduating from the MFA writing program at the University of Iowa, where he studied with Kurt Vonnegut, Irving taught English and writing at Windham College and Mt. Holyoke. For years, Irving balanced his imaginative undertakings with a grueling physical discipline. He wrestled competitively for 20 years, and continued to coach the sport in prep schools long after achieving success as a writer. In 1992, he was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. As of this writing, he has published 11 novels and three books of essays. He plays an active role in the adaptation of his books to the screen, winning an Oscar for the screenplay of The Cider House Rules. His latest novel, Last Night in Twisted River, will arrive in bookstores in 2009.