Michael Dirda (b. 1948)

American journalist and literary critic. Born to a working-class family in Lorain, Ohio, Dirda was educated at Oberlin College and Cornell University, where he earned a Ph.D. in comparative literature. A lifelong reader and book lover, he has served since 1983 as senior editor of the Washington Post’s literary supplement, Book World. In 1993 his reviews and essays won him the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished criticism; selections of his literary journalism are collected in Readings: Essays and Entertainments (2003) and Book by Book: Notes on Reading and Life (2006). Dirda has also published a memoir, An Open Book: Coming of Age in the Heartland (2004), as well as two volumes of essays on “great writers and their books”: Bound to Please (2005) and Classics for Pleasure (2007). See also washingtonpost.com.