Sam Lipsyte

Sam Lipsyte

reading at Philip Roth birthday reading, Library of Congress, 2014
Born 1968
New York City
Occupation professor
Genre novelist, short story writer
Notable awards New York Times Notable Book of the Year,
Believer Book Award

Sam Lipsyte (born 1968) is an American novelist and short story writer.[1]


The son of the sports journalist Robert Lipsyte, Sam Lipsyte was born in New York City and raised in Closter, New Jersey.[2] He lives in Manhattan and teaches fiction at Columbia University.[3]

Lipsyte was an editor at the webzine FEED.[4] His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in The Quarterly, The New Yorker, Harper's, Noon, Tin House, Open City, N+1, Slate, McSweeney's, Esquire, GQ, Bookforum, The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, Nouvelle Revue Française, The Paris Review, This Land, and Playboy, among other places.

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. His novel The Ask was published in the United States by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2010, and in the United Kingdom by Old Street Publishing. In May 2011, HBO announced development of a comedy, "People City," based on Lipsyte's work, with Lipsyte serving as writer and executive producer.[5]


His novel Home Land was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year for 2005 and winner of the inaugural 2004 Believer Book Award. Venus Drive was named one of the 25 Best Books of 2000 by The Village Voice Literary Supplement. In 2008, he received a Guggenheim Fellowship.[6]




The test for the obsessive prose stylist who lacks an instinctive gift for storytelling is always the same: what's the minimum amount of plot you can get away with and still function within the parameters of a novel? Basically, the more style you have, the less plot you need. So if it takes little time to sketch the plot of Sam Lipsyte's The Ask, that's a backhanded way of saying it's a stylistic tour de force.[7]
On the strength of three previous novels, Lipsyte has fashioned himself as America's bard of highly educated disgruntlement. Like Joseph Heller in "Catch-22," this puppeteer of delusional creatures communicates despair through rapid-fire dialogue, several varieties of non sequitur and cleverly coiled punch lines. "Home Land" is unforgettably structured as a profane collection of rants delivered to the protagonist's high school alumni newsletter. "The Ask" is a far more ambitious social comedy, couched in an economic anxiety that threatens grand-scale emasculation.[8]
Sam Lipsyte’s third novel, “The Ask,” is a dark and jaded beast — the sort of book that, if it were an animal, would be a lumbering, hairy, cryptozoological ape-man with a near-crippling case of elephantiasis.[9]


  1. Venus Drive, story by Sam Lipsyte, Open City (magazine). Accessed July 28, 2011.
  2. Staff. "Corrections", Poets & Writers, May/June 2010. Accessed July 28, 2011. "Sam Lipsyte's hometown is Closter, New Jersey, not Demarest, as stated in Failure's Fortune by Frank Bures (March/April 2010)."
  3. Sam Lipsyte: Assistant Professor and Associate Director of Undergraduate Creative Writing, Columbia University. Accessed July 28, 2011.
  5. Rose, lacey. "HBO Developing Comedy From Author Sam Lipsyte (Exclusive)", The Hollywood Reporter, May 23, 2011. Accessed July 28, 2011.
  6. "John Simon Guggenheim". Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  7. "The Ask by Sam Lipsyte", The Observer, Geoff Dyer, June 2010
  8. "'The Ask: A Novel' by Sam Lipsyte", The Los Angeles Times, Akiva Gottlieb, February 28, 2010
  9. "Target Practice", The New York Times, LYDIA MILLET, March 4, 2010

External links

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