Born in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1918, Edwin O'Connor spent his early life in Woonsocket and, from La Salle Academy in Providence, went on to the University of Notre Dame. After graduation in 1939, he worked as a radio announcer. During World War II, he served in the Coast Guard for three years, then went to Boston to work as a writer-producer for the Yankee Network. One year later, in 1946, he left radio and became a free-lance writer. In that year he sold his first magazine piece, a satire on radio, to the Atlantic Monthly; a year later he sold his first short story to the same magazine.
During the next decade, he wrote more articles and short stories, contributed television columns to two Boston newspapers and produced two novels, The Oracle (1951) and The Last Hurrah (1956). Three other novels followed: The Edge of Sadness (1961), I Was Dancing (1964) and All in the Family (1966). The Edge of Sadness won the Pulitzer Prize. Mr. O'Connor died in Boston on March 23, 1968, four months before his fiftieth birthday. Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., said of O'Connor's books, "He left behind an ironic chronicle of a vital part of American society - a chronicle that . . . future historians must consult to understand a way of living that will have ceased to exist."