DeLillo is the author of a slew of critically-lauded, densely-written novels about American life including White Noise, Underworld, and 9/11-inspired Falling Man.

A Bronx native, DeLillo became interested in writing when he worked as a parking attendant and read countless books to pass the time. He graduated from Fordham and worked writing copy for advertisements at Olgilvy & Mather while working on his own short stories and novels. When he finally quit his ad job, he was ultimately the most productive during the ‘70s, writing six novels over the course of eight years, including Americana and Ratner's Star. His work became uncharacteristically commercial in the early ‘80s, and he spent a few years in Greece working on The Names, but it wasn't until White Noise was published in 1985 that he began to get major critical respect, including a National Book Award. Although few of his subsequent novels have lived up to the success of White Noise, DeLillo continues to churn out novels and plays every few years, and his 2003 novel Cosmopolis was adapted into a film by David Cronenberg. [Image via Getty, second from right with Martin Katz, Sarah Gadon, Emily Hampshire, David Cronenberg, Robert Pattinson, Juliet Binoche, and Paul Giamatti]