1926 in Fairmont, West Virginia, John Knowles attended Phillips Exeter Academy, a boarding
school in New Hampshire from which most of the setting for Devon School (also located in
New Hampshire) was taken. After a brief stint in the Air Force, Knowles enrolled at Yale
University and graduated with a bachelor's degree in 1949. He then began work as a
free-lance writer and a journalist, traveling around Europe and publishing short stories
which would later be collected in one volume, Phineas, in which can be found the short
story upon which A Separate Peace is based. In 1957 Knowles was hired as assistant editor
of Holiday magazine. His first novel, A Separate Peace, won the William Faulkner
Foundation Award, the Rosenthal Award of the National Institute of Arts and Letters, and
an award from the Independent School Education Board. After his debut success, Knowles
left his position at Holiday and began traveling and writing fiction. Although he has not
equalled the success and acclaim of his first novel, Knowles has published eight other
novels, including Indian Summer, Morning in Antibes, Double Vision, and Peace Breaks Out.
He has served as writer-in-residence at Princeton University and at the University of
North Carolina, and he frequently lectures to university audiences. Knowles lives in
eastern Long Island.