Michael Dirda

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Michael Dirda in 2009 (Amelia Beamer/Locus Publications)

Michael Dirda (born 1948) is a book critic for the Washington Post. He has been a Fulbright Fellow and won a Pulitzer Prize in 1993.


Having studied at Oberlin College for his undergraduate degree in 1970, Dirda took an M.A. in 1974 and Ph.D. in 1977 from Cornell University in comparative literature. In 1978 Dirda started writing for the Washington Post; in 1993 he won the Pulitzer Prize for his criticism.[1] Currently, he is a book critic for the Post.[2]


Two collections of Dirda's literary journalism have been published:[3]

  • Readings: Essays and Literary Entertainments (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2000) ISBN 0-253-33824-7

He has also written:

  • An Open Book: Coming of Age in the Heartland (New York: W. W. Norton, 2003) ISBN 0-393-05756-9 (autobiography)
  • On Conan Doyle; or, The Whole Art of Storytelling (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2011) ISBN 0-691-15135-0
  • Browsings: A Year of Reading, Collecting, and Living with Books (New York: Pegasus, 2015) ISBN 978-1-60598-844-3

On Conan Doyle was awarded the 2012 Edgar Award in the Best Critical/Biographical category.[4] (Reviewer Darrell Schweitzer lauds the book in The New York Review of Science Fiction.[5])


Dirda lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, with his wife, Marian Peck Dirda, a prints and drawings conservator at the National Gallery of Art. They have three sons: Christopher (b. 1984), Michael (b. 1987), and Nathaniel (b. 1990).[6]

See also


  1. Fischer, Heinz-Dietrich; Fischer, Erika J. (2002). Complete Biographical Encyclopedia of Pulitzer Prize Winners, 1917–2000. The Pulitzer Prize Archive. 16. Munich: K. G. Saur. p. 58. ISBN 3-598-30186-3. Retrieved 21 January 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Dirda, Michael (25 March 2005). "XXX". Washington Post. Retrieved 5 October 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Local Author Bibliography: Michael Dirda". Lorain Public Library System. Retrieved 21 January 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Washington Post's Michael Dirda Wins Edgar Award". The Washington Post. 26 April 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Schweitzer, Darrell (January 2012). "On Conan Doyle; or, The Whole Art of Storytelling by Michael Dirda". The New York Review of Science Fiction. Pleasantville, NY: Dragon Press. 24 (5): 7.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "WOSU Presents Ohioana Authors: Michael Dirda". Ohioana Authors. Retrieved 12 January 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links