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Philip Roth bus tour includes ... Philip Roth

October 19, 2009 |  8:30 am

Philiproth2008

Alumni of New Jersey's Weequahic High who signed up for the Oct. 17 "Philip Roth's Newark" bus tour as part of their 50th reunion celebrations were surprised to find that it included Philip Roth himself. It's the second time the author has made it to the bus tour, the Newark Star-Ledger reports, but it's the first time he's done the whole route.

Although he lives in Connecticut, Philip Roth (Weequahic High class of 1950) has often included Newark in his fiction. "As you get older, you get closer to home," he said Saturday. 

Roth, who has been awarded a Pulitzer Prize, two National Book Awards and garnered numerous other accolades, is often thought to be in the running for the Nobel Prize in Literature. That honor eluded him again Oct. 8 when it went to German-Romanian author Herta Müller.

Not that Roth is sitting around waiting for a phone call. In addition to this trip to New Jersey, he's been at work on a new novel. "The Humbling," a slender 160 pages, will hit shelves Nov. 2.

He's written 30 books since the publication of his debut "Goodbye, Columbus" fifty years ago. A collection of short stories and novella, it put Roth on the national literary stage. When the passengers of this weekend's busride, the class of 1960, were still sitting in classrooms, Roth was in New York, accepting his first National Book Award.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Philip Roth in 2008. Credit: Richard Drew / Associated Press. 

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