The son of Italian immigrants, Don DeLillo was born in 1936 and grew up in the Bronx. He enjoyed a childhood of sports, family, and games and graduated from Fordham University in 1958. Profoundly influenced by the arts, music, and film cultures of New York, DeLillo's novels reflect the forces that shape the American psyche: consumerism, media's omnipresence and its packaging of reality, threats and fears of environmental toxins, weaponry and waste, and the radical uncertainties of the post-Kennedy era.
Before the publication of his first novel, Americana (1971), DeLillo wrote advertising copy. He lived and traveled abroad for three years, in Greece and the Middle East, during the late-1970s and early 1980s. "What I found," he has said of this period, "was that all this traveling taught me how to see and hear all over again. . . . I would see and hear more clearly than I could in more familiar places." In 1985, DeLillo received the National Book Award for White Noise. A nomination in 1988 for his novel Libra.Mao II (1991), brought DeLillo the coveted PEN/Faulkner Award.
In a recent novel, Underworld, DeLillo conjures up a dazzling picture of cold-war America. His latest play, Valparaiso, premiered in January 1999. The Body Artist, his latest novel, was published in February 2001. He is also the recipient of the Aer Lingus / Irish Times Prize, and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He and his wife live outside of New York City.