We have just learned that John Updike has died at the age of 76.
Of John Updike, David Lehman has this to say: "He excelled at every genre. He exemplified a true man of letters in the classic sense. Though greatly admired and recognized the world over, he was sometimes taken for granted, as monuments are. He may have been the best book reviewer in America; he was undoubtedly one of the two supreme novelists of our day; his poetry, essays, art criticism, and occasional writings reveal a solid professionalism and are always a delight to read. Even his detractors will acknowledge that he wrote like an angel and that at his best -- in the Rabbit novels, the Bech stories, and other fictions -- he made a magnificent and lasting contribution to American literature. I can think of no one I would recommend more heartily for aspiring writers to read in order to learn the nuts and bolts of the craft. He was a sweet man, with a modest demeanor. At the PEN Congress in New York City in January 1986, which I covered for Newsweek, lots of writers were grandstanding about American foreign policy and the like. Updike was asked to make a comment about his native land. He paused for a beat then said that he wanted to single out the humble blue postal box that one used to find on almost every street-corner, because it symbolized, in a very practical way, our freedom to communicate and exchange our thoughts and ideas -- and also because he associated it with the arrival of good news."
We invite you to post your favorite encounters with John Updike, whether on the page or in person. We are deeply saddened by the news of his death.