John Henry O'Hara was born on January 31, 1905 in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, United States. His father passed away when he was a young boy and O'Hara could not afford a university education. He went to work as a reporter for various newspapers until he moved to New York City where he began to write short stories for magazines. He received much critical acclaim for his short stories, more than 200 of which appeared in The New Yorker. He interviewed F Scott Fitzgerald and took the last known photos of Fitzgerald and his daughter.
In 1934, John O'Hara had his first novel published. Titled, Appointment in Samarra, in 2001, this book would be named as one of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century by the editorial board of the American Modern Library.
This successful work was followed by several more successful works. During World War II, John O'Hara became a correspondent in the Pacific. After the war, he wrote screenplays and more novels including Ten North Fredrick for which he won the 1955 National Book Award.