Sundays 8pm to 11pm on Radio 2
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Acclaimed literary heavyweight John Irving is a rare thing: a brainy populist, a macho feminist, and a writer who wrestles. He's sold more books than most living American writers, been translated into 35 languages, and had 9 international best sellers ... writing daring, unsettling novels that mesh the comic and tragic, the moral and the macabre.
But here's the thing - John might never have become a novelist were it not for this: growing up in New Hampshire, John never knew his own dad. And because his mother never spoke about him, John used his imagination, to dream up who his dad might be. Missing fathers figure throughout his fiction, right back to his big breakthrough 'The World According To Garp' - which became a hit movie starring Robin Williams. John spent 13 years turning his novel about an abortion doctor and his young protégé into a movie 'The Cider House Rules', and won an Oscar for his screenplay. Other Irving novels that have hit the big screen include 'The Hotel New Hampshire' and 'A Prayer for Owen Meany' - which is today his most widely read book.
Along the way he got remarried to a Canadian and was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. John continues to tackle the big social issues of the day: his 13th novel, 'In One Person', is the epic story of a bisexual man reflecting on his life - from the 1950s through to the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s - and the unforgettable people he meets.