Michael Cunningham is an American author born on November 6, 1952 in Cincinnati, Ohio. He showed great potential to be a writer as a teenager, leading to him studying English literature at Stanford University and later the University of Iowa for his graduate degree. His foray into the literary scene began with the publication of his first novel, Golden States, in 1984. He followed his debut with A Home at the End of the World, Flesh and Blood, and his most acclaimed work to date, The Hours.
The Hours tells the story of three women in differing time periods: Virginia Woolf in 1923, Laura Brown in 1949, and Clarissa Vaughn in the late 1990s. The novel starts with the day Woolf decides to write her book entitled Mrs. Dalloway, and follows the lives of Brown and Vaughn as they read the novel in the near future. An incredibly complex and profound story, Cunningham effortlessly ties together the narratives of three vastly differing women in a way that no other author has done before.
Upon its publication, The Hours garnered rave reviews from critics and audiences for its moving portrayal of love, loss, and sacrifice. It won the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction as well as the PEN/Faulkner Award. In 2002, it was also adapted into a film of the same name, directed by Stephen Daldry and starring Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, and Meryl Streep. The film was ultimately nominated for nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actress.