Leonard Michaels (January 2, 1933 - May 10, 2003) was an American writer of short stories, novels, and essays. He was born in New York City to Jewish parents; his father was born in Poland. He went to college and earned his B.A. from New York University and went on to acquire an M.A. as well as a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Michigan, before spending most of his adult life in Berkeley, California.
Going Places, his first book of short stories, made his reputation as one of the most brilliant of that era's fiction writers; the stories are urban, funny, and written in a private, hectic diction that gives them a remarkable edge. The follow-up, coming six years later (Michaels was perhaps not prolific enough to build a widely popular career), was I Would Have Saved Them If I Could, a collection as strong as the first.
The Men's Club, Michaels' first novel, is a story-like, relatively short comedic work that simultaneously attacks and celebrates the absurdities of men as they gather in a kind of urban support group. In 1986, the novel was made into a popular film, directed by Peter Medak, with the screenplay by Michaels, and starring Roy Scheider, Harvey Keitel, Stockard Channing and Frank Langella.
Sylvia is a fictionalized memoir of Michael's first wife, Sylvia Bloch, who committed suicide.
Michaels was a professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley.
- Going Places (1969, ISBN 0-374-16496-7)
- I Would Have Saved Them If I Could (1975, ISBN 0-374-17411-3)
- The Men's Club (1981, ISBN 0-374-20782-8) (filmed in 1986)
- Shuffle (1990, ISBN 0-374-26349-3)
- Sylvia (1992, ISBN 1-56279-029-3)
- A Cat (1995, ISBN 1-57322-013-2)
- Time Out of Mind (1999, ISBN 1-57322-819-2)
- A Girl With a Monkey: New and Selected Stories (2000, ISBN 1-56279-120-6)
- To Feel These Things (2000, ISBN 1-56279-040-4)
- The Collected Stories (2007, ISBN 0-374-12654-2)
- The Essays of Leonard Michaels 2009, ISBN 978-0-374-14880-5
- The Improbable Moralist Both an appreciation of his art and review of The Collected Stories by Phillip Lopate; published in The Nation on-line June 21, 2007 (July 9, 2007 issue)
- Leonard Michaels -- let us not forget him review of The Collected Stories, by Paul Wilner. This piece appeared July 1, 2007 at SF Gate.com. The review also extends into a backlog of reflection about Michaels' Sylvia and an essay on Michaels' called Difficult Friends in Wendy Lesser's Room For Doubt.
- To Live in a Culture: Leonard Michaels' Sylvia and The Collected Stories piece by Nora Griffin at The Brooklyn Rail
- Interview: Wyatt Mason on Leonard Michaels at Harper's
- Obituary of the University of California
-  A reading of Michaels' story "Cryptology".