John Burnham Schwartz grew up in New York City. At Harvard College, he majored in Japanese studies, and upon graduation accepted a position with a prominent Wall Street investment bank, before finally turning the position down after selling his first novel. That book, BICYCLE DAYS, a coming of age story about a young American man in Japan, was published in 1989 on his 24th birthday. It went on to become a critically acclaimed bestseller.
RESERVATION ROAD, his second novel about a family tragedy and its aftermath, published in 1998, was also critically acclaimed and a bestseller, and in 2007 it was made into a major motion picture based on Schwartz's screenplay. The film starred Joaquin Phoenix, Mark Ruffalo, Jennifer Connelly, and was directed by Terry George.
Schwartz went on to publish CLAIRE MARVEL, a love story set in America and France, and, in 2008, THE COMMONER, a novel inspired by the lives of the current empress and crown princess of Japan. Spanning seventy years of modern Japanese history and looking deep into the secret, ancient world of the Japanese Imperial Family, THE COMMONER won Schwartz some of the best reviews of his career.
In July of 2011, Random House published Schwartz's fifth novel, NORTHWEST CORNER, which picks up the lives of some of the characters from RESERVATION ROAD twelve years later. NORTHWEST CORNER is an urgent, powerful story about family bonds that can never be broken and the wayward roads that lead us back to those we love.
Schwartz's work has been translated into more than 20 languages. He is a recipient of a Lyndhurst Prize for mastery in the art of fiction, and his journalism has appeared widely in such publications as The New Yorker, The New York Times Book Review, The Boston Globe, and Vogue.
Since writing the script for Reservation Road, Schwartz has become an accomplished screenwriter as well as a novelist. He has written screen adaptations of Dana Canedy's memoir A Journal for Jordan, and Nancy Horan's bestselling novel Loving Frank for Sony Pictures and Lionsgate, respectively, and has developed a dramatic television series for Showtime. He is currently writing an HBO film about Bernie Madoff, with Robert De Niro attached to star and produce.
Schwartz has taught fiction writing at Harvard, The University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, and Sarah Lawrence College, and he is the literary director of the Sun Valley Writers' Conference, one of the leading literary festivals in the United States.
He lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife, screenwriter and food writer Aleksandra Crapanzano, and their son, Garrick.
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