Andre Dubus

Andre Dubus bigraphy, stories - Novelist, short story writer, teacher

Andre Dubus : biography

August 11, 1936 – February 24, 1999

Andre Dubus II (August 11, 1936 – February 24, 1999) was an American short story writer, essayist, and autobiographer.

Writing career

Although he did write one novel, The Lieutenant, in 1967, Dubus considered himself primarily as a writer of short fiction. Throughout his career, he published most of his work in small, distinguished literary journals such as Ploughshares and Sewanee Review. Later in his career he placed stories in magazines such as The New Yorker and Playboy. Andre remained loyal to a small publishing firm run by David R. Godine that published his first works. When larger book publishers approached him with more lucrative deals, Dubus stayed with Godine, switching only to Alfred A. Knopf towards the end of his career to assist with medical bills.

Dubus’s collections include: Separate Flights (1975), Adultery and Other Choices (1977), Finding a Girl in America (1980), The Times Are Never So Bad (1983), Voices from the Moon (1984), The Last Worthless Evening (1986), Selected Stories (1988), Broken Vessels (1991), Dancing After Hours (1996), and Meditations from a Movable Chair (1998). Several writing awards are named after Dubus. His papers are archived at McNeese State University and Xavier University in Louisiana.

Cinematic adaptations

After Dubus’s death, his story "Killings" was adapted into Todd Field’s In the Bedroom (2001) starring Sissy Spacek, Tom Wilkinson, and Marisa Tomei . The film was nominated for five Academy Awards – Best Picture, Actor in a Leading Role (Wilkinson), Actress in a Leading Role (Spacek), Actress in a Supporting Role (Tomei), and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Published (Robert Festinger & Field).

The 2004 movie We Don’t Live Here Anymore is based upon two of Dubus’ novellas, "We Don’t Live Here Anymore" and "Adultery."

Awards and honors

  • L.L. Winship/PEN New England Award (1975)
  • Separate Flights
  • The PEN/Malamud Award [Rea Award for the Short Story] for excellence in short fiction (1991)
  • The Jean Stein Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters
  • The Lawrence L. Winship Award
  • Fellowships from the Guggenheim and MacArthur Foundations


Early life and education

Andre Jules Dubus II was born in Lake Charles, Louisiana, the youngest child of a Cajun-Irish Catholic family. His two elder siblings are Kathryn and Beth. His surname is pronounced "Duh-BYOOSE", with the accent on the second syllable to rhyme with "goose." Dubus grew up in the Bayou country in Lafayette, Louisiana, and was educated by the Christian Brothers, a Catholic religious order that emphasized literature and writing. Dubus graduated from nearby McNeese State College in 1958 as a journalism and English major. Dubus then spent six years in the Marine Corps, eventually rising to the rank of captain. At this time he married his first wife and started a family. After leaving the Marine Corps, Dubus moved with his wife and four children to Iowa City, where he later graduated from the University of Iowa’s Iowa Writers’ Workshop with an MFA in creative writing, studying under Richard Yates. He admired Hemingway, Chekhov, and Cheever.

Personal difficulties

Dubus’s life was marked by several tragedies. His oldest daughter was raped as a young woman, causing Dubus many years of paranoia over his loved ones’ safety.Suzanne’s rape had done something to our father. Amost immediately after it, he had driven to the Haverhill police station and applied for a license to carry. Now he owned a silver snub-nose .38 he kept unloaded inone of the desk drawers. When he went out to dinner with his wife or friends, he carried it in a shadow holster on his belt, and he covered it with his shirt or vest. He seemed to talk about self-defense more than I’d ever heard him talk about it before. Source: Dubuse, Andre III. Townie: A Memoir. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2011, page 146. Dubus carried personal firearms to protect himself and those around him, until the night in the late 1980s, when he almost shot a man who was in a drunken argument with his son, Andre, outside a bar in Haverhill, Massachusetts.Dubus, Andre III, Townie: A Memoir. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2011, pages 237-248.