John Irving's Twenty Year Sentence
For even our best writers, penning that final sentence can be a difficult and tortuous affair. For John Irving, who never begins a novel without knowing its concluding words, this sentence took two decades.
John Irving published his first novel, Setting Free the Bears, in 1968. He has been nominated for a National Book Award three times–winning once, in 1980, for the novel The World According to Garp. He also received an O. Henry Award, in 1981, for the short...