Adam Gopnik, essayist, author, critic (born at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA 24 Aug 1956). While born in America, Gopnik was raised in Montréal, where he completed a BA at McGill University. He moved to New York, a city that remains his home, to attend graduate school. Gopnik is a unique and respected observer of contemporary American culture and the country's cultural heritage. His works, imbued with his signature wit and perception, engage both with the great thinkers and ideas that influence our age and the small pleasures that enrich our lives, particularly the value of place and home.
As an essayist, Adam Gopnik is known for his tenure as a staff writer with The New Yorker, a magazine whose reflective engagement with the political and cultural tenor of our time suits Gopnik's interests and talents. Gopnik began writing for The New Yorker in 1986, became their art critic in 1987, and has contributed numerous book reviews, essays and criticism to the magazine. He has been recognized with National Magazine Awards and the George Polk Award for Magazine Reporting.
Gopnik's essays have been collected into books; his "comic-sentimental" Paris Journal column, chronicling his residency in that city from 1995-2000, appeared in The New Yorker and became a bestseller when selected and republished as Paris to the Moon (2001). Its essays plumb the subtle, pervasive differences of French culture, as experienced by Gopnik and his family. Likewise, essays on the subject of Gopnik's return to New York and rediscovery of the city with his young children were collected and published in 2006 as Through the Children's Gate: A Home in New York.
Such attentiveness to the powerful effects of place upon the imagination has also led Gopnik to write children's books: the fantasies The King in the Window (2005), chronicling a young boy's time-travelling adventures in Paris, and The Steps Across the Water (2010), which traces its small heroine's progress from a pond in New York's Central Park to an imperilled mirror-city of the future.
Gopnik's further publications extend his consideration of the ways great thinkers, events and phenomena shape American culture, and Western culture in general. He is the editor of Americans in Paris (2004), a survey of three centuries of notable American personalities whose residencies in France shed light on the spirit of both countries. Angels and Ages: A Short Book About Darwin, Lincoln, and Modern Life (2009) is an examination of the lives and legacies of Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin, born on the same day in 1809. Adam Gopnik was invited to present Canada's 2011 Massey Lectures and chose the subject of winter: its influence on thought, art, science, music, literature and daily living. The lectures, delivered across Canada in October 2011, are published as Winter: Five Windows on the Season (2011).