April 1, 1964

John Updike Elected to National Institute of Arts and Letters

Greater Boston

On this day in 1964, John Updike was at 32 the youngest person elected to the National Institute of Arts and Letters. Updike wrote more than 60 books — novels, poetry, drama, essays, memoirs, and art and literary criticism — and published widely until his death on January 27, 2009. He was one of only three individuals to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction twice, and also one of very few Americans to receive both the National Medal of Art and the National Medal for the Humanities. Born in Pennsylvania, Updike spent most of his adult life on the North Shore of Massachusetts. He lived for 17 years in Ipswich and used the town as the setting for his bestselling novel, Couples.


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