Canadian-born Saul Bellow was one of the most influential writers of the 20th century. He was born Solomon Bello in Quebec, in 1915, to Russian immigrant parents, and raised in Chicago from age nine. Bellow loved language, reading and writing from a very young age and pinpointed Harriet Beecher Stowe's race relation novel Uncle Tom's Cabin as the first book he loved.
Bellow's first published novel, The Dangling Man, was released in 1944, during his WWII service in the merchant marines and was followed three years later by his second, The Victim, in 1947. Recognizing talent and wanting more, the Guggenheim Foundation awarded Bellow a fellowship in 1948, and he used the opportunity to move to Paris.
he wrote his 1953 novel The Adventures of Augie
March, which took the National Book Award for
Fiction in 1954.
The Guggenheim and National Book Awards were just the beginning for Bellow, who went
on to win a Pulitzer Prize (Humboldt's Gift), and the
Nobel Prize in Literature, as well as winning the
National Book Award for Fiction two more times (for Herzog and Mr. Sammler's Planet).
Bellow's writing also had international, multicultural appeal, garnering him recognition and respect across borders. In 1965, he was the first American to win the International Literary Prize (for Herzog). Three years later, he was awarded the Croix de Chevalier des Arts et Lettres. Bellow died in 2005, at age 89. In his life he married five times, fathered four children (the last when he was 84), and wrote 14 novels and novellas, as well as short stories and non-fiction.