‘Shutter Island’ Author Dennis Lehane Tells You Why His Success is Not Self-Made

Dennis Lehane’s publishing career of over a dozen novels has led to three award-winning films you may recognize: Shutter Island (2010), Gone Baby Gone (2007), and Mystic River (2003).

Born in Boston, Massachusetts to Irish immigrants, Lehane dabbled in many fields before finding his calling as a full-time writer. Some of his jobs include driving limos, waiting tables, and loading tractor-trailers. He also worked as a counselor with the mentally handicapped and other vulnerable populations.  

Lehane has been reported as saying that he has no interest in adapting his work for the big screen. However, a few years ago, Lehane parlayed into scriptwriting, adapting his novel, The Drop, into a film starring the late James Gandolfini alongside Tom Hardy.

To date, Lehane holds writer credits on critically-acclaimed television shows such as HBO’s The Wire and Boardwalk Empire. Currently, he is working on Mr. Mercedes, a television adaptation of Stephen King’s novel of the same name. Fans of Lehane’s work include Stephen King himself, and former presidents Clinton and Obama. 

Throughout his publishing career, Lehane has received immense adulation for his novels including the Anthony Award, Barry Award, and Shamus Award. He has taught courses on fiction writing at a variety of colleges, most notably Harvard University.


In his commencement speech to UMass Boston, Lehane claims that his Hollywood success story is largely due to his parents and other support systems in his life. He goes on to encourage others to live a life of dignity and honor that respects all living things.

If you want to learn more about Dennis Lehane, here’s his personal website. You can also check out his latest New York Time’s bestseller here: Since We Fell.