Zachary Lazar

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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.[1] 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. The story of the film Invocation of My Demon Brother, its making, and the people involved were the inspiration for it.[2] 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.[3] 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, and the Jewish gangster Meyer Lansky. 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.[4]

Lazar's articles and reviews have appeared in the New York Times Magazine,[5] the Los Angeles Times, Newsday, BOMB magazine, and elsewhere. In 2011, he joined the faculty of Tulane University.

Awards and grants[edit]


  • 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
  • Vengeance (2018), ISBN 978-1-936787-77-7


  1. ^ "Editor's Choice". "The New York TImes", January 20, 2008. Retrieved July 14, 2011.
  2. ^ Taylor, Charles (January 13, 2008). "Their Satanic Majesties". "The New York TImes", January 13, 2008. Retrieved July 14, 2011.
  3. ^ "Member Profile". "PEN American Center”. Retrieved July 14, 2011.
  4. ^ "100 Notable Books of 2014". "The New York TImes", December 2, 2014. Retrieved March 24, 2015.
  5. ^ Lazar, Zachary (January 6, 2011). "The 373-Hit Wonder". "The New York TImes", January 6, 2011. Retrieved July 14, 2011.

External links[edit]