The John Cheever Reading Room
The main reading room in the library is named in honor of John Cheever, the great American novelist and short story writer who lived in Ossining from 1951 until his death in 1982. The library’s Board of Trustees named the room, which was designed as the library’s “living room”, to honor Cheever’s contributions to literature and his strong connections to his adopted hometown; when Cheever was on the cover of Time in 1964, the headline was “The Ovid of Ossining” and John Leonard, former editor of the New York Times Book Review, praised Cheever as “the Chekhov of the suburbs”, the room was formally dedicated in a ceremony on May 10, 2007, attended by many of the author’s friends and family.
Among Cheever’s literary distinctions are a Pulitzer prize, the National Book Award, and the National Medal for Literature. Our collection features Cheever’s works, including The Wapshot Chronicle, Bullet Park, and Falconer, as well as short story compilations and nonfiction works about the author.
Cheever was a vocal admirer of Ossining and the Ossining Public Library. His biographer noted that “Cheever took pleasure in being a familiar face in his adopted hometown, the virtues of which he extolled with impressive zeal”. In 1982, Cheever wrote to the library director, noting after the widening of Route 9 that “the Public Library, crowned on its hill, will seem to be the brains of the village and I suspect it has been all along”; that letter is now on display in the Reading Room, alongside other Cheever artifacts. Please visit the Reading Room to learn more about this local literary star.