COURNOS, JOHN (1881–1966), U.S. novelist. Born in Kiev, Cournos was raised in Philidelphia, where he experienced economic hardship. His earliest work of fiction was a trilogy based on his own life: The Mask (1919), The Wall (1921), and Babel (1922). His difficult years were described in his Autobiography (1922). Cournos converted to Christianity and in Open Letter to Jews and Christians (1938; Brittish edition, Hear Oh Israel, 1938) he appealed to other Jews to follow his example.