Michael J. Arlen

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Michael John Arlen (born December 9, 1930, London, England)[1] is an Armenian-American writer and a former television critic for The New Yorker.

Arlen is the son of a British-Armenian writer, Michael Arlen. He grew up in England and went to a boarding school in France prior to the outbreak of World War II. As a result of the war, Arlen's family moved to the United States and he became an American citizen at the age of 21.[2] He attended Harvard University (1948-1952), after which he worked as a reporter for Life from 1952 to 1956.[3]

He is the author of Living Room War, a book on the portrayal of the Vietnam War and American social culture by the mass media. He is also the author of Exiles and the critically acclaimed Passage to Ararat, both of which are autobiographical narratives of Arlen's Armenian ancestry.[4] Parts of Exiles and all of Passage to Ararat originally appeared in the New Yorker.[5]

For Passage to Ararat, Arlen won the U.S. National Book Award in the category Contemporary Affairs.[6]

He had four children from a previous marriage prior to marrying Alice Arlen in 1972. She died in 2016.[7]


  • Living Room War (1969)
  • An American Verdict (1974)
  • Exiles (1970)
  • Passage to Ararat (1975) — National Book Award, Contemporary Affairs[6]
  • The View from Highway 1 (1976)
  • Thirty Seconds (1980)
  • The Camera Age (1981)
  • Say Goodbye to Sam (1984)


  1. ^ Vineta Colby, World Authors, 1975-1980 (Wilson, 1985: ISBN 0824207157), p. 45.
  2. ^ Passage to Ararat, p. 6
  3. ^ David Kherdian, Forgotten Bread: First-Generation Armenian American Writers (Heyday Books, 2007), p. 299.
  4. ^ Passage to Ararat. New York, 1975
  5. ^ Kherdian, Forgotten Bread, p. 299.
  6. ^ a b "National Book Awards – 1976". National Book Foundation. Retrieved 2012-03-09.
    There was a "Contemporary" or "Current" award category from 1972 to 1980.
  7. ^ McFadden, Robert D. (February 29, 2016). "Alice Arlen, Screenwriter With Premier Journalistic Pedigree, Dies at 75". New York Times. Retrieved March 1, 2016. 

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