John McPhee was born in Princeton, New Jersey, and was educated at Princeton University (Class of 1953) and Cambridge University. His writing career began at TIME in 1957. He began contributing to The New Yorker in 1963 and has since written more than a hundred pieces for the magazine.
In 1965 McPhee published his first book, A Sense of Where You Are, with Farrar, Straus and Giroux. In the years since he has published another 33 books, including Oranges (1967), Coming into the Country (1977), The Control of Nature (1989), The Founding Fish (2002), Uncommon Carriers (2006), Silk Parachute (2010), and Draft No. 4: On the Writing Process (2017).
McPhee received the Award in Literature from the Academy of Arts and Letters in 1977. In 1999 he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction for Annals of the Former World (1998). In 2008 he received the George Polk Career Award for his “indelible mark on American journalism during his nearly half-century career.”
McPhee has taught writing at Princeton since 1975. To date, nearly 500 students have taken his course. In 1999 he received the President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching from Princeton.