James Thurber

James Thurber

Neil Gaiman (Good Omens) called The 13 Clocks by James Thurber, "Probably the best book in the world."

American humorist James Thurber was born in 1894 in Columbus, Ohio, where he was raised and educated. After attending The Ohio State University (1913-1918), Thurber worked as a newspaper writer in Columbus, Paris, and New York before joining the staff of The New Yorker in 1927. His contributions to that magazine, both as a writer and an artist, were instrumental in changing the character of American humor. Thurber left the staff of the magazine in 1935, but continued to contribute to it for the next two decades. In 1940, failing eyesight - the result of a boyhood accident - forced him to curtail his drawing; by 1952, he had to give it up altogether. He continued to write until his death in 1961.

Thurber's humor speaks not only for an era, but also for the confused human condition in general. His essays, stories, fables, and plays, as well as his drawings and cartoons, have been collected in over thirty volumes, and they continue to be reprinted often in textbooks and anthologies. Thurber's work has also been frequently adapted for the stage, television, movies, and musical presentations.

James Thurber, in addition to receiving multiple honorary doctorate degrees and Library Association awards, has been honored with a special Tony Award for A Thurber Carnival (1961) and an Emmy (Best Comedy) for the Thurber-based My World and Welcome To It (1970); in 1994, on the centennial celebration of his birthday, the United States Postal Service imprinted his self-portrait on the postage stamp.

Thurber House ( ), listed on the National Register of Historic places, was one of the boyhood homes of the humorist-cartoonist and now serves as a nonprofit literary center and Thurber museum. Thurber House continues the legacy of James Thurber and since 1997 has awarded the Thurber Prize for outstanding American humor to such writers as Ian Frazier, Jon Stewart, Alan Zweibel, Joe Keenan, Calvin Trillin and Trevor Noah.

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