NPR : Fresh Air

Revisiting John Updike's 'Fresh Air' Interviews

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These interviews were originally broadcast on March 17, 1988, March 16, 1989, and Oct. 14, 1997. You can listen to the original broadcasts in their entirety here.

John Updike would have turned 80 on March 18, 2012. To celebrate the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, Random House is re-releasing some of his most recognizable works, including the Rabbit series. The publisher is also releasing e-book editions of Updike's entire back catalog, along with a posthumous essay collection, "Higher Gossip," which will appear in paperback for the first time.

Updike appeared on Fresh Air several times over the years. On Friday's show, excerpts from several of those interviews will be played.

Over his decades-long career, Updike authored more than 25 novels and over a dozen short story collections, as well as poems, essays and a memoir.

Updike won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award in 1982 for his novel Rabbit is Rich and another Pulitzer in 1991 for Rabbit at Rest. He also received the National Book Award in 1964 for his novel The Centaur, which follows a depressed school teacher and his anxious son in rural Pennsylvania.

In 1998, Updike was awarded the Medal of Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, a lifetime achievement award issued by the National Book Awards. He died of lung cancer on January 27, 2009. He was 76.

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