Tim O’Brien has been hailed as “the best American writer of his generation” (San Francisco Examiner). A Vietnam veteran, he is the author of eight books. He received the National Book Award in Fiction in 1979 for his novel Going After Cacciato. In 2005 The Things They Carried was named by The New York Times as one of the twenty best books of the last quarter century. It received the Chicago Tribune Heartland Award in fiction and was a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. The French edition of The Things They Carried received the prestigious Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger, and the title story was selected by John Updike for inclusion in The Best American Short Stories of the Century. In the Lake of the Woods, published in 1994, was chosen by Time magazine as the best novel of that year. The book also received the James Fenimore Cooper Prize from the Society of American Historians and was selected as one of the ten best books of the year by The New York Times. Tim O’Brien’s other works include If I Die in a Combat Zone, Northern Lights, Tomcat in Love and July, July. His short fiction, which received the National Magazine Award, has appeared in numerous journals, including The New Yorker, Atlantic, Esquire, Playboy, and Harper’s.
This talk was part of the Literature & Medicine program’s national conference, After Shock: Humanities Perspectives on Trauma, held on November 12 & 13, 2010 in Washington, D.C.