Steven Millhauser Biography

Biography (Literary Essentials: Short Fiction Masterpieces)

Steven Lewis Millhauser, like the hero of his eponymous first novel, Edwin Mullhouse, was born in early August of 1943, the son of a college English professor. As the events of that novel show, however, it is unwise to conflate the events of an author’s life with those of his characters. When Millhauser unexpectedly won the Pulitzer Prize for his novel Martin Dressler in 1997, most news stories stressed Millhauser’s deliberate avoidance of publicity, in a word, his shyness. Nevertheless, the salient features of his life can be noted.

Growing up in Connecticut, Millhauser wanted to be an author from an early age. After receiving his undergraduate degree from Columbia University, he wrote fiction while living with his parents and working. He attended graduate school at Brown University, pursuing a Ph.D. in medieval and Renaissance studies, and left after the success of his first novel. A series of academic appointments followed, including one at Skidmore College, where he has shared a teaching position with his wife. He settled in Saratoga Springs with his wife and two children.