Zachary Lazar (born 1968) is an American novelist. Lazar was born in Phoenix, Arizona. He earned an A.B. degree in Comparative Literature from Brown University (1990) and M.F.A from the University of Iowa Iowa Writer's Workshop (1993). In 2015, he was the third recipient of the John Updike Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, "given biennially to a writer in mid-career whose work has demonstrated consistent excellence."
Lazar published his first novel, Aaron, Approximately, in 1998. His second novel, Sway, was a finalist for the Discover Great New Writers Award at Barnes & Noble and was an Editor's Choice at the New York Times Book Review. Appropriating such real-life iconic figures as the early Rolling Stones, Charles Manson acolyte Bobby Beausoleil, and the avant-garde filmmaker Kenneth Anger, "Sway" is a novelistic exploration of the rise and fall of the Sixties counterculture. It was selected as a best book of 2008 by the Los Angeles Times, Publishers Weekly, Newsday, Rolling Stone, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and other publications. In 2009, Lazar published the memoir Evening's Empire: The Story of My Father's Murder. It was selected as a Best Book of 2009 by the Chicago Tribune. Lazar's third novel, I Pity the Poor Immigrant, tells the story of a fictional American journalist whose investigation into the killing of an Israeli poet leads her into a millennia-old history of violence that encompasses the American and Israeli mafias, the biblical figure of King David, the Jewish gangster Meyer Lansky, and the modern state of Israel and its occupation of the Palestinian territories. The book was an Editor's Choice at the New York Times Book Review as well as one of that publications's 100 Notable Books of 2014.
Awards and grants
- Fine Arts Work Center, 1994-5
- James Michener-Copernicus Society Award, 1998
- Barnes & Noble Discover Award finalist for Sway
- Guggenheim Fellowship (2009–2010)
- Hodder Fellow, Princeton University (2009–2010)
- John Updike Award, American Academy of Arts and Letters (2015)
- Aaron, Approximately (1998), ISBN 0-06-039211-8
- Sway (2008), ISBN 0-316-11309-3
- Evening's Empire: The Story of My Father's Murder (2009), ISBN 978-0-316-03768-6
- I Pity the Poor Immigrant (2014), ISBN 978-0-316-25403-8
- "Editor's Choice". "The New York TImes", January 20, 2008. Retrieved July 14, 2011.
- "Member Profile". "PEN American Center”. Retrieved July 14, 2011.
- "100 Notable Books of 2014". "The New York TImes", December 2, 2014. Retrieved March 24, 2015.
- Lazar, Zachary (January 6, 2011). "The 373-Hit Wonder". "The New York TImes", January 6, 2011. Retrieved July 14, 2011.
- Author's website
- New York Times Book Review of Sway.
- Zachary Lazar page at the Guggenheim Foundation
- Zachary Lazar page at Princeton University's Lewis Center for the Arts
- Lazar's profile of the musician Girl Talk in the New York Times Magazine
- Zachary Lazar interviewed by Michael Silverblatt on KCRW's Bookworm
- Zachary Lazar interviewed by novelist Christopher Sorrentino in BOMB magazine
- New York Times Living With Music Playlist by Zachary Lazar
- James Wood review of I Pity The Poor Immigrant in The New Yorker
- New York Times Book Review of I Pity the Poor Immigrant