Raised in Corvallis, Oregon, Jon Krakauer graduated from Hampshire College in 1976, after which he worked as a carpenter and commercial salmon fisherman in Alaska before embarking on a career as a writer. He is the author of 8 books, including Into the Wild, Into Thin Air (which was one of three finalists for the 1998 Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction), Under the Banner of Heaven, Where Men Win Glory, and Missoula. His work has also been published by National Geographic, Rolling Stone, Smithsonian, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, and The New York Times.
In 1999, he received an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. According to the award citation, “Krakauer combines the tenacity and courage of the finest tradition of investigative journalism with the stylish subtlety and profound insight of the born writer.” In the aftermath of the 1996 Everest tragedy that was the subject of Into Thin Air, Krakauer got involved with the American Himalayan Foundation in order to repay some of his personal debt to the courageous Sherpas who did so much to assist him and the other survivors of that calamity. Presently he serves as the board chair of this extraordinary organization.