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Pittsburgh Born and/or Bred

These authors have departed for many novel destinations, but at one time or another their haunts were right here in Pittsburgh. Check out these writers with strong Steel City roots.

 

The Mysteries of Pittsburgh

No, he wasn't born in Pittsburgh, but Chabon spent his teen years here and attended Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh. A film by the same name stars Peter Sarsgaard and Sienna Miller.

 

An American Childhood
PS3554.I398 Z464 1993x

You'll recognize plenty of spots in Dillard's memoir, such as Frick Park gullies, a certain watering hole on Penn Avenue, and all those cement staircases climbing our hills. Dillard does our city proud, and her parents will make you laugh out loud.

 

Billy

French graduated from Penn Hills High School and photographed for the Post-Gazette for years. In Billy, a 10-year-old Mississippi boy is sent to the electric chair for supposedly murdering a white girl. A later novel, I Can't Wait on God, follows a couple trying to ditch Pittsburgh for the Big Apple.

 

Emily, Alone

Another child of Point Breeze, O'Nan lived outside of Pittsburgh for decades before settling in Edgewood. His latest novel - about an orderly, elderly woman whose world suddenly turns upside down - is set in Highland Park.

 

The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull, and the Battle of the Little Bighorn
E83.876.P47 2010

Sure, he has degrees from Brown and Duke, but his education began right around the corner at Linden Elementary School in Point Breeze. Philbrick is a sailor, and his painstakingly researched histories usually chronicle the ocean, its islands, or the coast. This most recent bestseller departs for a different sea - the prairie - and the battle of Sitting Bull and George Custer at Little Bighorn.

 

Damballah

A Peabody graduate and Rhodes scholar, Wideman places many of his stories of African-American family life in Homewood. Several of them are collected in Damballah.