Calvin Trillin

Biography of Calvin Trillin

Calvin Marshall Trillin (born December 5, 1935) is an American journalist, humorist, food writer, poet, memoirist and novelist.

Trillin attended public schools in Kansas City and went on to Yale University, where he served as chairman of the Yale Daily News and was a member of the Pundits and Scroll and Key before graduating in 1957; he later served as a Fellow of the University. After a stint in the U.S. Army, he worked as a reporter for Time magazine before joining the staff of The New Yorker in 1963. His reporting for The New Yorker on the racial integration of the University of Georgia was published in his first book, An Education in Georgia. He wrote the magazine’s U.S. Journal series from 1967 to 1982, covering local events both serious and quirky throughout the United States.

He has also written for The Nation magazine. He began in 1978 with a column called Variations, which was eventually renamed Uncivil Liberties and ran through 1985. The same name – Uncivil Liberties – was used for the column when it was syndicated weekly in newspapers, from 1986 to 1995. Essentially the same column then ran without a name in Time magazine from 1996 to 2001. His humor columns for The Nation often made fun of the editor of the time, Victor Navasky, whom he jokingly referred to as the wily and parsimonious Navasky. From the July 2, 1990, issue of The Nation to today, Trillin has written his weekly "Deadline Poet" column – humorous poems about current events. Trillin has written considerably more pieces for The Nation than any other single person.

Family, travel and food are also themes in Trillin's work. Three of his books American Fried; Alice, Let's Eat; and Third Helpings; were individually published and are also collected in the 1994 compendium The Tummy Trilogy. In 1965, he married the educator and writer Alice Stewart Trillin with whom he had two daughters. Alice died in 2001. The most autobiographical of his works are Messages from My Father, Family Man, and an essay in the March 27, 2006, New Yorker, "Alice, Off the Page", discussing his late wife. A slightly expanded version of the latter essay, entitled About Alice, was published as a book on December 26, 2006. In Messages from My Father, Trillin recounts how his father always expected his son to be a Jew, but had primarily "raised me to be an American".

He has also written a collection of short stories – Barnett Frummer Is An Unbloomed Flower (1969) – and three comic novels, Runestruck (1977), Floater (1980), and Tepper Isn’t Going Out (2001). This last novel is about a man who enjoys parking in New York City for its own sake and is unusual among novels for exploring the subject of parking.

In 2008, The Library of America selected the essay Stranger with a Camera for inclusion in its two-century retrospective of American True Crime.

In 2012, he was awarded the Thurber Prize for American Humor for Quite Enough of Calvin Trillin: Forty Years of Funny Stuff, published by Random House.

Trillin lives in the Greenwich Village area of New York City.

Calvin Trillin's Works:

An Education in Georgia: Charlayne Hunter, Hamilton Holmes, and the Integration of the University of Georgia (1964)
Barnett Frummer is an Unbloomed Flower (short stories, 1969),
U.S. Journal (1971)
American Fried: Adventures of a Happy Eater (1974)
Runestruck (novel, 1977)
Alice, Let’s Eat: Further Adventures of a Happy Eater (1978)
Floater (novel, 1980)
Uncivil Liberties (1982)
Third Helpings (1983)
Killings (1984)
With All Disrespect (1985)
If You Can’t Say Something Nice (1987)
Travels with Alice (1989)
Enough’s Enough (and Other Rules of Life) (1990)
American Stories (1991)
Remembering Denny (1993)
Deadline Poet: My Life as a Doggerelist (comic verse with commentary, 1994)
Too Soon to Tell (1995)
Messages From My Father (1996)
Family Man (1998)
Tepper Isn’t Going Out (novel, 2001)
Feeding a Yen (2003)
Obliviously on He Sails: The Bush Administration in Rhyme (comic verse with commentary, 2004)
A Heckuva Job: More of the Bush Administration in Rhyme (comic verse with commentary, 2006)
About Alice (2006)
Deciding The Next Decider: The 2008 Presidential Race in Rhyme (comic verse with commentary, 2008)
"Quite Enough of Calvin Trillin" (2011) Updates

[Report Error]