Donald Friedman was born in Philip Roth’s old neighborhood, the Weequahic section of Newark, New Jersey. As a child, Friedman painted with oils and cartooned, but his pragmatic father discouraged him from pursuing art as a career path. Friedman graduated from Columbia High School in Maplewood, New Jersey, and went on to earn an A.B. in English Literature at Washington University-St.Louis, where he was mentored by Donald Finkel and Stanley Elkin. Friedman’s drawings and cartoons appeared in his college paper, and he started writing fiction.
After graduation, Friedman returned to New Jersey and obtained a J.D. from Rutgers University School of Law and an L.L.M. from New York University School of Law. His creative ambitions on hold, he married, raised two children, and enjoyed a thriving legal career. He was in private practice for thirty years and lectured in law at Rutgers, NYU Law, and New Jersey’s Institute for Continuing Education.
He promised himself that one day he would write fiction again. In the mid-1980s, Friedman took creative writing courses and wrote in the early morning hours before beginning his work day. With the publication in Tikkun of his short story “Jewing,” Friedman launched his second career. His short story led to the elaboration that is his award-winning novel, The Hand Before the Eye, published by Mid-List Press. His short story “Japanese Lanterns” appeared in New Orleans Review.
Donald Friedman lives in West Orange, New Jersey. His new book, The Writer’s Brush, represents decades of research by Friedman and includes excerpts of his previously unpublished interviews with such notable writer-artists as Kurt Vonnegut, Tom Wolfe, John Berger, Donald Justice, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and many others. Friedman offers over 400 stunning examples of paintings, drawings, and sculptures by celebrated writers—from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (b. 1749) to Jonathan Lethem (b. 1964), from New York City’s Kathy Acker to Dublin’s W.B. Yeats—with fascinating biographies, sharing his pleasure with each reader, whom he sees as his “companion in discovery.”