Langer is an author, journalist, playwright and filmmaker. His work has
been featured most recently on NPR’s Selected Shorts (read by Teri Garr),
in The Best Men’s Stage Monologues 2000 (Smith & Kraus) and The Best
Women’s Stage Monologues 2000 (Smith & Kraus), as well as in the Chicago
Reader’s Fiction Issue, and in the literary magazine, Salt Hill. He is
the author of two novels and three nonfiction reference works: “Crossing
California” and “The Washington Story,” “CitySmart Guide to Chicago,”
“Film Festival Guide,” and “The Madness of Art.”
Crossing California, one of the most successful literary debuts of 2004,
was selected by Amazon.com as one of the top fifty books of the year, #2
in Fiction (second to Philip Roth) and #1 in Debut Fiction. It was
chosen by Newsday, the Chicago Tribune, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Publishers Weekly as a Best Book of 2004,
was a BookSense pick, and was nominated for the Borders Original Voices
His plays have been produced in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San
Francisco, and numerous other cities throughout the United States. Among
the companies that have produced his work are Cave 76, Todo Con Nada,
Theater 22, Shattered Globe, Victory Gardens, Circle Rep, Ensemble
Studio Theater, Chicago Dramatists Workshop, Zebra Crossing, Magic
Theater, One Arm Red, and The Theater of Serviceable Villains. His 2000
play, Coaster, received rave reviews from numerous publications,
including the Chicago Sun-Times (“Highly Recommended. A small chunk of
pure gold…worthy of Isaac Bashevis Singer and Philip Roth.”) and the
Chicago Tribune (“Critic’s Choice: The stuff dreams are made of”).
He is the writer and director of the film The Blank Page, distributed by
Troma. The film has been seen in New York, Chicago, London and on
Scandinavian television. The film was lauded by the Chicago Tribune (“A
triumph”) and Time Out (“Hilarious and cruel.”).
As a journalist, he worked as a features writer and theater critic for
the Chicago Reader and has had his work published in numerous newspapers
and periodicals, including Mother Jones, the Chicago Tribune, Men’s
Journal and Rolling Stone.
He holds a B.A. from Vassar College and an M.A. from the University of
Illinois. He was a playwright-in-residence at the University of
Massachusetts at Amherst and was a winner of a National Arts Journalism
fellowship at Columbia University (2000-2001).
Over the years, he has worked as a radio news writer and producer, an
actor and a stand-up comedian. He has lectured on writing and journalism
at Northwestern University, University of Illinois at Chicago, Columbia
College and Pace University. He has been a frequent radio and television
guest in Chicago and New York and has been featured on such stations as
WGN-TV, CNN Headline News, Fox News, E! Entertainment Network, and
National Public Radio, among others. He was senior editor of Book
Magazine, where he worked since the publication’s founding in 1998; the
fiction section he edited for the magazine was nominated for a 2003
National Magazine Award.
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