Michael Dirda received the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for his essays and reviews in The Washington Post Book World. He has been writing a weekly book column for The Post for many years but also contributes occasional pieces to the New York Review of Books and  other literary periodicals. From 1978 till 2003, among other duties, he oversaw Book World's monthly coverage of science fiction and fantasy, commissioning reviews from many of the major figures in the field.             Dirda’s own books include Readings: Essays and Literary Entertainments (Indiana, 2000), An Open Book: Chapters from a Reader's Life (Norton, 2003, winner of the Ohioana Book Award for nonfiction), Bound to Please: Essays on Great Writers and Their Books (Norton, 2004) Book by Book: Notes on Reading and Life (Henry Holt, 2006), Classics for Pleasure (Harcourt, 2007), On Conan Doyle (Princeton, 2011, winner of the 2012 Edgar Award for biography/criticism) and Browsings: A Year of Reading, Collecting and Living with Books (Pegasus, 2012). Dirda is now finishing an appreciation of late 19th and early 20th-century popular fiction in Britain, tentatively titled The Great Age of Storytelling.            Dirda has written introductions to numerous works of  mainstream literature, crime fiction and "fantastika," These last include the recent Folio Society editions of Cat's Cradle, Stranger in a Strange Land, Dune, and Atlas Shrugged.                Dirda graduated with highest honors in English from Oberlin College (1970), received a Fulbright grant to teach in Marseille (1970-71), and earned an M.A. (1975) and Ph.D. (1977) from Cornell University in comparative literature (concentrating on medieval studies and European romanticism).  He lives just outside Washington DC with his wife Marian Peck Dirda, till recently senior prints and drawings conservator at the National Gallery of Art. They have three grown sons.