I found this article interesting and thought I’d share it with you. Yes, he WON $20,000 (£11,200) for his writing talent, but it was his background story I found more intriguing!
O’Keeffe was born on a rural Irish dairy farm. He said in an interview after the ceremony he first came to the United States in 1986 as an illegal immigrant without a college education, working in bars, waiting tables and working on construction sites.
In 1989, he returned to the United States after winning a green card in a lottery, passed his high school equivalency exam and enrolled in university in 1990 to study English, finally graduating at the age of 32.
He then earned a graduate fine arts degree in writing from the University of Michigan, where he is now a lecturer.