Don DeLillo an American dramatist, essayist and author was born on 20th November 1936 in an Italian American neighborhood at Bronx, New York. As a child DeLillo lived in a small house with eleven inhabitants however he recalls in ‘The Bronx’ that closed quarters never seemed a problem. During his teenage DeLillo was not interested in writing until late teens when he took a summer job as parking attendant, where he developed reading habit during hours of duty on watch.
In 1958 DeLillo graduated from Fordham University in Bronx with bachelor’s degree in communication art. Unable to get a job in publishing business he joined advertising. In 1960 his first story ‘The River Jordan’ came out in the literary magazine of Cornell University called Epoch. 1n 1964 DeLillo quit his job and started working on his first novel he later recalled the beginning of his writing career as “I did some short stories at that time, but very infrequently. I quit my job just to quit. I didn’t quit my job to write fiction. I just didn’t want to work anymore.” His first novel ‘Americana’, published in 1971, was written in the span of four years. DeLillo later said that “My first novel took so long and was such an effort that once I was free of it I almost became carefree in a sense and moved right through the decade”. He produced six novels in 70s and in 1978 he was awarded Guggenheim Fellowships, an American grant awarded annually to those who have demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts.
By in 1984 DeLillo had published seven novels; still he lacked major recognition outside of small academic circles. However in 1985 he did achieve the status of a well noted and respected novelist with publication of his eighth novel ‘White Noise’, which was an instant success and proved out to be a major breakthrough for DeLillo. It not only won him vast recognition and place in well reputed novelist of his time but also earned him The National Book Award.
From 1992 to 1997 DeLillo went to ground following the success of his novel Mao II which one him most significant critical praise from fellow authors. In 1997, after silence of five years, DeLillo resurfaced with his long awaited eleventh novel ‘Underworld’ which became his most acclaimed novel. Underworld earned him nomination for the National Book award and the New York Times Best Books of the Year award in 1997.
DeLillo once again recoiled from the spot light after the success and extensive publicity of Underworld for four years, surfacing again in 2001with his twelfth novel ‘The Body Artist’. His final novel for the decade ‘Falling Men’ was published in 2007 stating the impact of 9/11 terrorist attack on one family.
On 13th October 2010 DeLillo received the PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction followed by the St. Louis Literary Award for his entire body of work to date on 21st October 2010.