Born on July 20, 1933, Cormac McCarthy was the third child in a family of six children. His father’s name was Charles Joseph and mother’s name was Gladys Christina McGrail McCarthy. Initially he was named Charles, but later he changed it to Cormac meaning “son of Charles”.
In 1937, he along with his family moved to Knoxville where his father worked as a lawyer for Tennessee Valley Authority. He was a Roman Catholic and went to Catholic High School for his early education. Later on, he went to University of Tennessee where he studied liberal arts.
McCarthy further became a part of US Air Force in 1953 and served at Alaska for two years of the four years in Air force. It was in Alaska where he got the chance to host a radio show.
He returned to the University of Tennessee in 1957 and started his literary career with short stories such as “A Drowning Incident” and “Wake for Susan”. Both of them got published in the students’ literary magazine known as “THE PHEONIX”. He used to call himself C. J. McCarthy, Jr. During his stay at university, he won the Ingram-Merrill Award for creative writing in 1959 and 1960. It was there he married Lee Holleman, a student at University. McCarthy left the university without completing his graduation and went to Chicago where he worked as an auto-mechanic and also started work on his very first novel. On his return to Tennessee, his marriage was going through a rough patch, it could no longer be sustained, and therefore he and his wife separated. He had one son. His wife also wrote several books including Desire’s Door.
In early 60’s, he received a traveling fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He used the money to travel to the home of his Irish ancestors where he met Anne De Lisle, an English singer/dancer, and married her in England in 1966.
His first novel, The Orchard Keeper, was published in 1965 which won him the Faulkner Award. In 1966, he got the Rockefeller Foundation Grant. He and Anne then toured Europe and settled on the island of Ibiza, where he started working on his second novel. In 1967, McCarthy’s family moved to Washington D.C. where his father worked as the Principle Attorney in a Law firm. A year later, his second novel, Outer Dark, was published. Two years later, he was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship i.e. in 1969.
McCarthy continued his literary career with novels Child Of God published in 1973, Suttree also published 1973, Blood Meridian, Or, the Evening Redness in the West published in 1985, All The Pretty Horses published in 1979, The Crossing published in 1994, and Cities of the Plain published in 1998.