August 22, 1954 |
|Occupation||Novelist, radio host, essayist|
He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College, where he edited the Harvard Lampoon. In 1986 with E. Graydon Carter he co-founded Spy magazine, which they sold in 1991; it continued publishing until 1998. Previously he has been a writer and columnist for New York Magazine, ("The Imperial City"), and The New Yorker ("The Culture Industry") and Time ("Spectator"). Gene Shalit, in the acknowledgments to his 1987 book Laughing Matters, thanked Andersen, who "provided support, a keen mind, and essential advice, particularly during the crucial formative stages; tipped me off to some pieces unfamiliar to me ... ; and contributed the ... Afterword." He was also the architecture and design critic for Time for nine years.
In 1996, Bill Reilly fired Andersen after two and a half years from his position as editor-in-chief at New York, citing the publication's financial results. Andersen attributed the firing to his refusal to kill a story about a rivalry between investment bankers Felix Rohatyn and Steven Rattner that had upset Henry Kravis, the principal of the publishing firm's ownership group.
In 1999 he co-founded an online media news web site and biweekly magazine called Inside, which he and his co-founders sold to Primedia; Primedia closed the site in October 2001. From 2001 to 2004 he served as a senior creative consultant to Barry Diller's Universal Television, and from 2003 to 2005 as editorial director of Colors magazine. More recently, he co-founded the email cultural curation service Very Short List, was a guest Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times and editor-at-large for Random House.
Andersen was born in Omaha, Nebraska.
Andersen is the author of three novels, including Turn of the Century (Random House, 1999), which was a national bestseller and New York Times Notable Book of the year, and the New York Times bestseller Heyday (Random House, 2007), which won the Langum Prize for the best American historical fiction of 2007. Random House published his third novel, True Believers, in the summer of 2012. His short fiction has been published in anthologies such as Stories: All-New Tales (HarperCollins, 2010).
Andersen has also published a book of humorous essays, The Real Thing (Doubleday, 1980; Holt, 1982; Bison Press, 2008), about quintessentialism, and co-authored two humor books, Tools of Power (Viking, 1980), a parody of self-help books on becoming successful, and Loose Lips (Simon & Schuster, 1995), an anthology of edited transcripts of real-life conversations involving celebrated people. Along with Carter and George Kalogerakis he assembled a history and greatest-hits anthology of Spy called Spy: The Funny Years, published in 2006 by Miramax Books.
He also wrote Reset (Random House, 2009), an essay about the causes and aftermath of the Great Recession, and he has contributed to many other books, such as Spark: How Creativity Works (HarperCollins, 2011) and Fields of Vision: The Photographs of John Vachon (Library of Congress, 2010).
- Shalit, Gene (1987). Laughing Matters: A Celebration of American Humor. New York: Doubleday. ISBN 0-385-18547-2.
- Weber, Bruce. "Bill Reilly, Magazine Publishing Executive, Dies at 70", The New York Times, October 20, 2008. Accessed October 23, 2008.
- Pogrebin, Robin. "When a Magazine Is Too Brash for the Bottom Line", The New York Times, September 29, 1996. Accessed October 23, 2008.
- Kurt Andersen's website
- studio360 website
- Rake magazine interview
- Kurt Andersen's New York Magazine Archive
- Video (with mp3 available) of conversation with Anderson and Will Wilkinson on Bloggingheads.tv