18 Facts About John O'Hara


John Henry O'Hara was one of America's most prolific writers of short stories, credited with helping to invent The New Yorker magazine short story style.


John O'Hara became a best-selling novelist before the age of 30 with Appointment in Samarra and BUtterfield 8.


John O'Hara achieved substantial commercial success in the years after World War II, when his fiction repeatedly appeared in Publishers Weekly's annual list of the top ten best-selling fiction works in the United States.


John O'Hara was born in Pottsville, Pennsylvania to an affluent Irish-American family.


John O'Hara attended the secondary school Niagara Prep in Lewiston, New York, where he was named Class Poet for Class of 1924.


John O'Hara's father died about that time, leaving him unable to afford to attend Yale, the college of his dreams.


In 1934, John O'Hara published his first novel, Appointment in Samarra.

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Over four decades, John O'Hara published novels, novellas, plays, screenplays and more than 400 short stories, the majority of them in The New Yorker.


Many of John O'Hara's stories are set in Gibbsville, Pennsylvania, a barely fictionalized version of his home town of Pottsville, a small city in the anthracite region of the northeastern United States.


John O'Hara named Gibbsville for his friend and frequent editor at The New Yorker Wolcott Gibbs.


John O'Hara contributed more of them to The New Yorker than any other writer.


John O'Hara published seven volumes of stories in the final decade of his career while complaining that they took his time away from writing novels.


Some criticism of John O'Hara's writing is attributed to dislike of John O'Hara personally because of his abrasive ego and lack of humility in dealing with others, his vigorous self-promotion, his obsession with his social status, and the politically conservative columns he wrote late in his career.


Many leading characters in John O'Hara's novels are alcoholics who live as emotional zombies, anesthetized by drinking and unable to ponder the human heart in conflict with itself.


John O'Hara's legacy has many literary heavyweight admirers, including authors Updike and Shelby Foote.


John O'Hara died from cardiovascular disease in Princeton, New Jersey, and is interred in the Princeton Cemetery.


Also in 1960, John O'Hara's best-selling 1935 novel BUtterfield 8 was released as a film with the same name.


John O'Hara complains that the colleges write him "highly complimentary" letters asking him to perform "chores" such as officiating as writer-in-residence, judging literary contests, and give lectures, yet do not give him degree citations.