Breslin, Jimmy

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Breslin, Jimmy

Jimmy Breslin (James Earl Breslin), 1928–2017, American journalist, b. Queens, N.Y. A reporter, columnist, and author, he was a tough and witty voice for working-class New Yorkers. He began as a newspaper copy boy in the late 1940s and soon became a sportswriter. After writing Can't Anybody Here Play This Game (1963) about the hapless New York Mets, he was hired as a columnist for the New York Herald Tribune. At about the same time he began using techniques derived from fiction in his stories, an approach known as New Journalism, and so changed the nature of column writing. In his conversational storytelling, Breslin wrote about ordinary New Yorkers (for which he won a Pulitzer Prize in 1986) as well as politicians (many corrupt), cops, mafiosi, priests, a serial killer, and other urban characters. Papers he worked for included the New York Post,Daily News, and Newsday, and he was one of New York magazine's first staff writers. He was accomplished fiction writer as well—his novels include The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight (1969, film 1971), World without End, Amen (1973), and Table Money (1986)—and wrote biographies (mainly sports) and other nonfiction books.

See his memoir, I Want to Thank My Brain for Remembering Me (1996).

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