Shalom Auslander

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Shalom Auslander (born 1970) is an American author and essayist. He grew up in an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood in Monsey, New York where he describes himself as having been "raised like a veal", a reference to his strict religious upbringing.[1][2] His writing style is notable for its Jewish perspective, existentialist themes and black humor. His non-fiction often draws comparisons to David Sedaris, while his fiction has drawn comparisons to Franz Kafka, Samuel Beckett and Groucho Marx.[3][4] His books have been translated into over a dozen languages and are published around the world.

Early life[edit]

Auslander was born and raised in Monsey, and attended Yeshiva of Spring Valley for elementary school and then high school at the Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy in Manhattan.[5] He lived in Teaneck, New Jersey.


Auslander has published a collection of short stories, Beware of God (March 2006) and a memoir, Foreskin's Lament: A Memoir (October 2007).[6] His work, often confronting his Orthodox Jewish background, has been featured on Public Radio International's This American Life and in The New Yorker. He has also written for Esquire Magazine, Gentlemen's Quarterly, The New York Times and many others. He was a finalist for the 2003–2004 Koret Jewish Book Award for "Young Writer on Jewish Themes."[7]

In "Foreskin's Lament," Auslander wrote of his mother, "who was the belle of the misery ball," and his father, who was angry and uncommunicative. As a child, he went through the house and destroyed all the pornography he found. As an adult, he rebelled against his Orthodox Jewish upbringing.[8]

In January 2012, Auslander published his first novel, Hope: A Tragedy, a finalist for the 2013 Thurber Prize, which envisions a homeowner in upstate New York finding an elderly and foul-mouthed Anne Frank hiding in his attic.[9] It won the Jewish Quarterly-Wingate Prize (2013).[10]

Auslander wrote and created the Showtime television program, Happyish, which shot a pilot with Philip Seymour Hoffman, whom he met while adapting his novel Hope: A Tragedy for the screen. After Hoffman's death on February 2, 2014, it appeared that the TV project would be discontinued. However, it was subsequently recast with Steve Coogan in the lead role and premiered on April 5, 2015.[11]

Personal life[edit]

Auslander is married with two children, and currently resides in Santa Monica, California.[12][13]

Partial list of works[edit]


Short stories/magazine articles[edit]

Radio interviews/readings[edit]

Television shows[edit]


  1. ^ Shalom Auslander, Voicing a Comic 'Lament', Fresh Air, October 8, 2007. Accessed October 9, 2007.
  2. ^ Auslander, Shalom. “Foreskin’s Lament”, The New York Times, September 28, 2007. Accessed October 9, 2007.
  3. ^ Reese, Jennifer (2007-10-05), "Shtick Figure". Entertainment Weekly (957):73
  4. ^ Bob Minzesheimer (2007-11-01), "Roundup: Non-fiction, in brief." USA Today.
  5. ^ Brawarsky, Sandee. "An Orthodox 'cast-off' holds God accountable", The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles , October 19, 2007. Accessed February 14, 2008. "By the time he was in high school, the Manhattan Talmudic Academy, he was shoplifting the kinds of expensive clothing his classmates wore, smoking dope and skipping classes to go to museums, bookstores and porn shops."
  6. ^ Reese, Jennifer. "Book Review: Foreskin's Lament (2007)", Entertainment Weekly. Accessed October 9, 2007.
  7. ^ "The Koret Foundation ::". Archived from the original on 24 May 2007. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  8. ^ Foley, Dylan. "10 Minutes with Shalom Auslander". October 17, 2007. Religion News Service. Retrieved January 19, 2012.
  9. ^ Maslin, Janet (January 18, 2012). "Anne Frank, Still Writing In the Attic". New York Times. Retrieved January 19, 2012.
  10. ^ Jewish Quarterly-Wingate Prize 2013 Archived November 5, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Nellie Andreeva. "'Happyish' Picked Up To Series, 'Shameless' Renewed For Season 6 - Deadline". Deadline. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  12. ^ McGrath, Charles. "Shalom Auslander: An Orthodox Jewish outsider grapples with his past", International Herald Tribune, October 3, 2007. Accessed October 9, 2007.
  13. ^ Edwards, Robert (2018-09-10). "Pretty Shitty Monkeys: A Surprisingly Optimistic Conversation with Shalom Auslander". Medium. Retrieved 2019-08-29.
  14. ^ Auslander, Shalom (June 2008), "Nip it, bud". Men's Health. 23 (5):110–114

External links[edit]