Don Delillo Biography, Life, Interesting Facts


Don Delillo

Birthday :

November 20, 1936

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Birth Place :

The Bronx, New York, United States of America

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Donald Richard DeLillo was born on November 20, 1936, in New York City, United States. He is a famous American novelist and essayist who adopted the postmodernism style of literature. His significant work contributions have included subjects on television, nuclear war, sports, mathematics, the advent of the digital age, politics, and economics among several others. He first novel ‘Americana’ was published in 1971 which attracted much criticism from the public.

Don DeLillo emerged successful with his 1985 novel ‘White House’ which became his source of inspiration in later works. He was awarded the National Book Award for fiction the same year. His breakthrough became even more certain with the 1988 book titled ‘Libra’ with many copies sold out. He has won a number of awards including PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction in 2010.

Early Life

Don DeLillo was born Donald Richard DeLillo on November 20, 1936, in New York City. He grew up in the Bronx, in New York which was home to many Italian-American families. His interest in literature was little especially as a teenager, and he never loved reading. However, he slowly developed a passion for reading and started focusing on writing more.

He went to Cardinal Hayes High School and graduated in 1954. He enrolled at the Fordham University in the Bronx and graduated in 1958 with a bachelor’s degree in Communication Arts. He began working in an advertising firm since he could not secure a job at a publishing company despite several applications. He worked at Ogilvy & Mather agency for five years as a copywriter. He worked on several picture adverts and printed adverts for the company. During this period, working as an advertising agent, he never lost his interest in pursuing writing.

Don DeLillo began with his first ever writing ‘The River Jordan’ a short story he published in 1960 and featured in  ‘Epoch’ the literary magazine of Cornell University. It pushed him to begin working on his intended first novel early in 1966.



After his resignation from the advertising company in 1964, Don DeLillo rented a house close to Queens-Midtown Tunnel. He took to active writing and began patching copies of his short scripts for his first novel. In 1971, he wrote his first novel ‘Americana’ which gained widespread recognition. The novel depicts an American programmer in search of what he considers the broader scope through a film project.

His first novel was followed by his 1972 book ‘End Zone’ which had two titles ‘The Self-Erasing Word’ and ‘Modes of Disaster Technology.’ In 1973, he wrote ‘Great Jones Street’ followed by his fourth novel ‘Ratner’s Star’ in 1976. Other series that followed shortly include Players (1977), Running Dog (1978), and Amazons (1980).

Don DeLillo settled in Greece where the other parts of his works were done. In 1982, he wrote ‘Names’ a thriller’s novel which took him three years to complete. He returned to the United States and published what would be his most remarkable work ‘White House’ in 1985. This publication gave him an ascent to fame and widespread acclaim earning him the National Book Award for Fiction.

He also joined the academic canon of contemporary postmodern novelists group. ‘Libra’ was his eighth novel published in 1988 which focused more on cult and conspiracy. His other works include ‘Mao II’ (1991), ‘Underworld’ (1997), ‘The Body Artist’ (2001), ‘Cosmopolis’ (2003), ‘Falling Man’ (2007), ‘Point Omega’ (2010), ‘Zero K’ (2016) among others.



Don DeLillo has received numerous awards including Guggenheim Fellowship (1979), Award in Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters (1984), National Book Award (Fiction) for ‘White Noise’  (1985), National Book Critics Circle Award finalist Fiction for ‘Libra’ (1988), Irish Times, Aer Lingus International Fiction Prize for ‘Libra’ (1989), PEN/Faulkner Award for ‘Mao II’  (1992), Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Award (1995), National Book Award finalist (Fiction) for ‘Underworld’ (1997), American Book Award for ‘Underworld’ (1998),'

Jerusalem Prize (1999), James Tait Black Memorial Prize shortlist (Fiction) for ‘The Body Artist’ (2001), International Dublin Literary Award longlist for ‘The Body Artist’  (2003),  New York Times Notable Book of the Year (Fiction and Poetry) for ‘Falling Man’ (2007), Common Wealth Award of Distinguished Service for achievements in literature (2009), St. Louis Literary Award from the Saint Louis University Library Associates (2010), PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction (2010), The Story Prize finalist for ‘The Angel Esmeralda’ (2012),

PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction finalist for ‘The Angel Esmeralda’ (2012),  Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award longlist for ‘The Angel Esmeralda’ (2012), Carl Sandburg Literary Award (2012), International Dublin Literary Award longlist for ‘Point Omega’ (2012), Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction (2013), Norman Mailer Prize for Lifetime Achievement (2014), National Book Awards Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters (2015).


Personal Life

In 1975, Don DeLillo married Barbara Bennett, a landscape designer. He is currently eighty one years old.

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