Philip Roth

One of America's most respected novelists, Roth has written more than 25 books including Portnoy's Complaint, American Pastoral, and The Plot Against America.

Born to Austro-Hungarian Jews in Newark, Roth attended Bucknell and the University of Chicago and served in the army for two years before publishing his first book, Goodbye, Columbus, which won the 1960 National Book Award. Two more novels followed, but it was his fourth book, 1969's Portnoy's Complaint that became a number one bestseller and heralded major acclaim and notoriety. Roth has possibly the most crowded trophy case of any living American novelist. His numerous awards and accolades include a Pulitzer Prize for American Pastoral and two PEN/Faulkner awards; in 2006 The Library of America began publishing the eight-volume collected works of Roth, making him the only living author with that honor. Roth's work, which has generated volumes of critical analysis, uses recurring Jewish male protagonists as authorial alter-egos. And yet despite the preponderance of Jewish characters and themes in his works, Roth rejects the designation "Jewish novelist": "Those kinds of considerations are newspaper clichés. Jewish literature. Black literature. Everyone who opens a book enters the story without noticing these labels." [Image via Getty]