Philipp Meyer (born 1974) is an American fiction writer, and is the author of the novels American Rust and The Son, as well as short stories published in McSweeney’s Quarterly, The Iowa Review, and Esquire UK. Meyer is the recipient of a 2010 Guggenheim Fellowship. He grew up in Hampden, a blue-collar Baltimore, Maryland, neighborhood often featured in the films of John Waters. His mother is an artist; his father is an electrician turned college biology instructor (Meyer describes them as "counterculture, bohemian intellectuals."). Meyer considers his major literary influences to be "the modernists, basically Woolf, Faulkner, Joyce, Hemingway, Welty, etc."
Meyer attended the Baltimore City Public Schools system, including Baltimore City College High School, until dropping out at age 16 and getting a GED. He spent the next five years working as a bicycle mechanic and occasionally volunteering at Baltimore's Shock Trauma Center.
At age 20, while taking college classes in Baltimore, Meyer decided to become a writer. He also decided to leave his hometown and at 22, after several attempts at applying to elite colleges, was admitted to Cornell University. Cornell was a hugely positive experience for Meyer, who reflected that “All of the sudden I wasn’t alone, [...] All of the sudden I had tons of friends who were doing interesting shit, who continue to do interesting shit.” During his time at Cornell, Meyer wrote a 600 page novel that he subsequently decided not to try and get published, later dismissing it as "self-indulgent undergrad nonsense" and a "complete turd". Meyer graduated Cornell with a degree in English...
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