Cormac McCarthy (born Charles Joseph McCarthy Jr., July 20, 1933) is an American writer who has written twelve novels, two plays, five screenplays and three short stories, spanning the Western and post-apocalyptic genres. He is known for his graphic depictions of violence and his unique writing style, recognizable by a sparse use of punctuation and attribution. McCarthy is widely regarded as one of the greatest contemporary American writers.McCarthy was born in Providence, Rhode Island, although he was raised primarily in Tennessee. In 1951, he enrolled in the University of Tennessee, but dropped out to join the US Air Force. His debut novel, The Orchard Keeper, was published in 1965. Awarded literary grants, McCarthy was able to travel to southern Europe, where he wrote his second novel, Outer Dark (1968). Suttree (1979), like his other early novels, received generally positive reviews, but was not a commercial success. A MacArthur Fellowship enabled him to travel to the American Southwest, where he researched and wrote his fifth novel, Blood Meridian (1985). Although it garnered a lukewarm critical and commercial reception, it has since been regarded as his magnum opus, with some labeling it the Great American Novel.
McCarthy first experienced widespread success with All the Pretty Horses (1992), for which he received both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. It was followed by The Crossing (1994) and Cities of the Plain (1998), completing the Border Trilogy. His 2005 novel No Country for Old Men received mixed reviews. His 2006 novel The Road won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction. Many of McCarthy's works have been adapted into film. No Country for Old Men was adapted into a 2007 film, winning four Academy Awards, including Best Picture. All the Pretty Horses, The Road, and Child of God have also been adapted into films, while Outer Dark was turned into a 15-minute short. McCarthy had a play adapted into a 2011 film, The Sunset Limited.
McCarthy works with the Santa Fe Institute (SFI), a multidisciplinary research center. At the SFI, he published the essay "The Kekulé Problem" (2017), which explores the human unconscious and the origin of language. He was elected to the American Philosophical Society in 2012. His most recent novels, The Passenger and Stella Maris, were published on October 25, 2022, and December 6, 2022, respectively.