Fran Lebowitz is an American writer who stood out in the late seventies with the publication of her first book: Metropolitan Life (1978). In it, she ironized the daily life of New York society. Her irreverent personality has made her stand out from the crowd. Thanks to her peculiar way of being, many writers compare her to the historian and humorist Dorothy Parker.

Since the 1990s he has been suffering from “writer’s block”. His last creation was the children’s play Mr. Chas and Lisa Sue Meet the Pandas (1994). However, that has not stopped her in her daily chores. Lebowitz has excelled in other areas, such as television and film, since she, in addition to being a writer, is a humorist, journalist, and speaker . In 2007, she was nominated by Vanity Fair as one of the Most Stylish Women of the Year.

Biographical summary of the author

Frances Ann Lebowitz was born on Friday, October 27, 1950 in the city of Morristown in New Jersey. She grew up in her hometown, in a family environment of observant Jews. She was a difficult and rebellious young woman, for this reason she was expelled from the Episcopalian school accusing her of “generalized hostility.”

Labor stage

Since he could not continue his studies, he began to work in different trades. He came to sell belts, was a taxi driver and even cleaned apartments. One of his first significant jobs was in the area of ​​advertising space sales for Changes magazine. In said magazine he published his first writing, in addition, he began with book and movie reviews.

Before long, Andy Warhol hired her as a columnist for Interview . Next, she worked for a season in the American feminist magazine Mademoiselle.

Literary works

In 1978 he published his first book: Metropolitan Life, which was a bestseller from its launch . Three years later, with her second work, Social Studies (1981), it had the same reception from readers. After occupying the first places in sales with both texts, many directors offered her large sums to adapt them to the cinema, however, she rejected all her offers.

Thirteen years later, both copies were edited and published as: The Fran Lebowitz Reader (1994). That same year she presented her latest work, a children’s story called: Mr. Chas and Lisa Sue Meet the Pandas (1994).

Writer’s block

Since his last book in 1994, Lebowitz has dealt with a creative block in the realm of letters. Despite having several literary projects, he has not been able to complete any. A case in the public domain is that of her work De ella Exterior Signs of Wealth, which has been postponed for years by the author. In 2004, Vanity Fair magazine published a preview of his work De ella Progress de ella, but to date he has not finished it yet.

Speaker

Despite being famous for her books and sarcastic humor, she has excelled in areas such as public speaking. In fact, Lebowitz has become one of the most respected and sought-after speakers in the US today. In this regard, she has commented:

“It is something that I can do without any effort, my maximum in this life. I have a good time talking, but the only thing I really hate is getting to the site. Every person in the world who gets on a plane should receive a check. I can’t believe they charge you for that experience.”

Work in audiovisual media

For seven years (2001-2007) she regularly participated in the Law & Order series , as the character of Judge Janice Goldberg . In addition, she has participated in the talk shows of Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon and Bill Maher on several occasions. In 2013, she was part of the cast of the movie The Wolf of Wall Street , directed by Martin Scorsese.

 In addition, he has been present in several documentaries, including American Experience, Regarding Susan Sontag (2014) and Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures (2016). As if the aforementioned were not enough, Martin Scorsese also directed a documentary film about Lebowitz for HBO , called Public Speaking (2010) .  

Documentary series

In 2021, he starred in the documentary Pretend, It’s a city , which premiered on the Netflix platform and has 6 short episodes. Since its broadcast began, it has won hundreds of fans who were unaware of this rude, curmudgeonly and fun character. In each episode, Lebowitz has a chat with director Martin Scorsese about the golden age of New York.

Such has been the success of the work, that it was nominated for an Emmy 2021 in the category of Best Documentary.

Technological and travel resistance

One of the aspects for which the writer is known is for her rejection of technology. Hence, she does not own a cell phone or a computer. In this regard, she has commented: “… I don’t have a computer. I don’t see anything on the internet, which is a big decision today.” Likewise, she affirms that she does not like to get on airplanes, which is why she rarely goes on vacation, as she considers it a terrible activity.

Books by Fran Lebowitz

Metropolitan Life (1978)

It is a collection of funny stories. It was published in Spanish as Vida Metropolitana (1984). In the text, the author made a fierce chronicle about what life is like for millionaires, handsome and famous who live in New York . In addition, she described in detail -with ironic touches- how society groups operate in areas such as fashion, art and literature.

The writer narrated an environment that she knows perfectly, since she was part of that circle . A reality that shows how the city had so wrapped up her characters that none of them could have lived in another city, much less in the countryside. The common thing between them was the animosity to rural places surrounded by nature, pets, illiterate people and children.

Social Studies (1981)

It is the second book of the writer. It was published in Spanish as Breve manual de urbanidad (1984). Thanks to her previous work of hers, this collection was well received and was also a bestseller . Like her first work, it contains a group of stories where she made satires on the people, pleasures and environment of the urban area.

Although the stories have a marked comedy, they are presented in a precise, intelligent and misanthropic way.

The Fran Lebowitz Reader (1994)

This third work by the writer is the result of the union of her first two published books, Metropolitan Life (1978) and Social Studies (1981) . The texts were edited to include data that would allow the public to learn more about the life and work of the author. The documentary Public Speaking (2010) , directed by Scorsese , later emerged from this material .

Mr. Chas and Lisa Sue Meet the Pandas (1994)

It is a fantasy book for children, which describes the journeys of two 7-year-old children together with two large bears. The writer presents a story with her typical sarcastic comedy, in which Mr. Chas and Lisa Sue are protagonists. While the toddlers are exploring buildings in Manhattan, they discover a pair of pandas named: Pandemonium and Don’t Panda to Public. The work contains illustrations by Michael Graves.