Sam Lipsyte biography

Author Biography  | Interview  | Books by this Author  | Readalikes

Sam Lipsyte
Photo: Robert Reynolds

Sam Lipsyte

How to pronounce Sam Lipsyte: Lip-site

Sam Lipsyte Biography

Sam Lipsyte, born in 1968 in New York City, is the author of the story collection Venus Drive (named one of the top twenty-five books of its year by the Voice Literary Supplement) and three novels: The Ask, The Subject Steve and Home Land, which was a New York Times Notable Book and received the first annual Believer Book Award.

Lipsyte's work is characterized by its verbal acumen and black humor. His books have been translated into several languages, including French, Russian, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese. He is also the recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship and he teaches at Columbia University.

In May 2011, HBO announced development of a comedy, People City, based on Lipsyte's work, with Lipsyte serving as writer and executive producer.



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Interview

Michael Kimball chats with Sam Lipsyte about The Ask (2010) which probes many themes including work, war, sex, class, child rearing, romantic comedies, Benjamin Franklin, cooking shows on death row, and the eroticization of chicken wire.

Maybe there is no topic of greater interest to fiction readers than how characters develop. Where do they come from? Do authors fashion them after people they know? Do characters do the author's bidding or do they lead the way for the author? Milo Burke is a character outside the pale of most protagonists, certainly not a traditional sad-sack loser by any means. What's more, his profession as a development officer for a mediocre university makes one wonder: from whence did Milo spring? Is The Ask autobiographical? Is Milo a caricature of someone Lipsyte knows?

In a March 2, 2010 interview with Michael Kimball from The Faster Times, Sam Lipsyte opens up about the process of developing this character:

Michael Kimball: I love Home Land, which came out in 2005 in the US, and what I want to know is why did you make me (and everybody else) wait five years for another book?

Sam Lipsyte: I guess the easy answer is, "Kids!" But also it took me a while to get onto the next thing after Home Land. You mourn the passing of your last book, and then you have to figure out what it is you write now. But thanks for waiting. I appreciate that.

Kimball: I like the use of the exclamation mark, and I had to ask, in ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Sam Lipsyte at BookBrowse
The Fun Parts jacket The Ask jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Sam Lipsyte but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • Joshua Ferris

    Joshua Ferris

    Joshua Ferris is the bestselling author of three novels, Then We Came to the End, The Unnamed and To Rise Again at a Decent Hour. He was a finalist for the National Book Award, winner of the Barnes and Noble Discover Award ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Ask

    Try:
    Then We Came to the End
    by Joshua Ferris

  • Nick Hornby

    Nick Hornby

    Nick Hornby is the author of the novels How to Be Good (a New York Times bestseller), High Fidelity, About a Boy and A Long Way Down, and of the memoir Fever Pitch. He is also the author of Songbook, a finalist for a National... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Ask

    Try:
    How To Be Good
    by Nick Hornby

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