Darin Strauss was born in the Long Island town of Roslyn Harbor. He attended Tufts University, where he studied with Jay Cantor.
His ALA Alex Award-winning, best-selling 2000 first novel Chang & Eng, - a runner-up for the Barnes & Noble Discover Award, the Literary Lions Award, a Borders Award winner, and a nominee for the PEN Hemingway award, among others — is based on the lives of the famous conjoined twins Chang and Eng. Chang & Eng was a Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year, a Newsweek Best Book of the Year, among others. The rights to the novel were optioned to Disney, for the director Julie Taymor; the actor Gary Oldman purchased the rights from Disney. Strauss and Oldman are together adapting Chang and Eng for the screen.
Strauss's second book, The Real McCoy (2002), was based on the life of the boxer Charles "Kid McCoy." "The Real McCoy" was named a New York Times Notable Book," and one of the "25 Best Books of the Year," by the New York Public Library.
It was after this novel that Strauss won a Guggenheim Fellowship in Fiction Writing.
Strauss's third novel, More Than It Hurts You, his first in a contemporary setting, was published by PenguinPutnam in 2008. The book made a number of year-end best-book lists, and was also a national bestseller—reaching as high as #3 on both the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News lists, and #6 on the New York Post list, in July, 2008. Publicity for the book was strong, and Strauss blogged about his extensive book-tour for Newsweek, and was featured on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and Good Morning America.
He appeared on This American Life in a July 2008 episode titled "Life After Death," in which he talks about the effects of a traffic accident during high school, in which a classmate on a bicycle swerved in front of his car, and was killed. Although he could not have avoided the accident, and was not at fault, he still felt guilty, and it affected him for decades.
His next book, Half a Life is an essay-length memoir based on his traffic accident; it was published by McSweeney's in September, 2010, and was excerpted in GQ magazine, and This American Life, and also in The Times and The Daily Mail (UK). Half a Life was named an Entertainment Weekly Must Read and a New York Times Editor's Pick—and a Best Book of the Year by NPR, Amazon.com, The Plain Dealer, The San Francisco Chronicle, among many others. A critical favorite in the UK, Half a Life was called "a masterpiece" by Robert McCrum in The Guardian, "one of the best books I have ever read" by Ali Catterall on The BBC, as well as "precise, elegantly written, fresh, wise, and very sad ... indicative not only of a very talented writer, but of a proper human being” by Nick Hornby
Half a Life won the 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award (Autobiography).
Strauss has been called "a brave new voice in literature" by The Wall Street Journal, and "one of the most sharp and spirited of his generation," by Powells Books, "sublime" and "brilliant" by the Boston Globe,
Though the reception to his work has been overwhelmingly positive, there has been one notable dissenter. Vadim Rizov, reviewing for The A.V. Club, found that the book Half-Life "...stumbles through a series of apologies.."
Strauss is married to the journalist Susannah Meadows, who writes a monthly Newly Released Books column for The New York Times' daily Arts Section. He is the father of identical twin boys. He currently resides in Brooklyn, New York and teaches writing at New York University.2011: National Book Critics Circle Award, Winner
2011: New York University's Alumnae Achievement Award, Winner
2010: "Editor's Choice," The New York Times
2010: "Best Books of the Year," NPR
2010: "Best Books of the Year," The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio)
2010: "Best Books of the Year," Amazon
2010: "Best Books of the Year," San Francisco Chronicle
2008: "Best Books of the Year," Denver Post
2008: "Book of the Summer," GQ Magazine
2006: Guggenheim Fellowship, Winner
2005: "Outstanding Dozen" teaching award, New York University, Winner
2002: "Times Notable Book," The New York Times
2002: "25 Best Books of the Year," New York Public Library
2000: "10 Best Novels of the Year," Newsweek
2000:"Best Books of the Year," Los Angeles Times
2000: ALA Alex Award, Winner
2000: Barnes & Noble Discover Award, Runner-up
2000: NYPL Literary Lions Award, Finalist