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Freedman, Adam

Freedman, Adam

PERSONAL:

Partner of Kathleen Walsh (an interior designer). Education: Graduated from Yale University, the University of Chicago, and Oxford University.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Brooklyn, NY. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer, editor. Buenos Aires Herald, Buenos Aires, Argentina, editor and columnist, 1998-99; New York Law Journal, New York, NY, "Legal Lingo" columnist. Previously worked as an attorney.

AWARDS, HONORS:

G.S. Sharat Chandra Prize for Fiction; Green River Writers Competition; Ray Bradbury Short Story Fellowship Contest, 2002; H.E. Francis Short Story Competition; Skyline Magazine Fiction contest; New York Law Journal Legal Fiction competition; Mayhaven Publishing Award for Adult Fiction for Elated by Details: Award-Winning Short Stories, 2002.

WRITINGS:

Elated by Details: Award-Winning Short Stories, Mayhaven Publishing (Mahomet, IL), 2003.

The Party of the First Part: The Curious World of Legalese, Henry Holt (New York, NY), 2007.

Also author of the blog The Party of the First Part. Contributor of articles and fiction to various periodicals, including Newsweek International, Slate, Guardian Weekly, and the New York Law Journal.

SIDELIGHTS:

Writer and journalist Adam Freedman was educated at Yale University, the University of Chicago, and Oxford University. He began his career as an attorney before ultimately giving up the law in favor of working as a journalist and writer of fiction. His first major post as a writer came in 1998, when he formally quit his job as a lawyer in order to move to Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he became an editor and columnist for the Buenos Aires Herald. Since then he has worked regularly as a freelance writer, and his work—which ranges from travel articles to first-person essays to humorous anecdotes—has appeared in a number of periodicals, including Newsweek International, Guardian Weekly, and the New York Law Journal, where he also serves as a regular columnist. In addition to his work as a journalist, Freedman writes short fiction, and his stories have been recognized in a number of contests, including the Green River Writers Competition, the Ray Bradbury Short Story Fellowship Contest, the H.E. Francis Short Story Competition, the Skyline Magazine Fiction contest, and the New York Law Journal Legal Fiction competition. He was awarded the G.S. Sharat Chandra Prize for Fiction and, in 2002, won the Mayhaven Publishing Award for Adult Fiction for his short fiction collection Elated by Details: Award-Winning Short Stories. Freedman also blogs regularly at The Party of the First Part Blog, which is named for his book of the same title.

In Elated by Details, Freedman offers readers his first collection of short stories, many of which have appeared previously in various periodicals. The stories share several themes, chief among them the idea of a person choosing to reinvent themselves. The title story follows Josh, a teenager on the cusp of adulthood, whose smart mouth during a college recruiting presentation leads to his meeting a philosophy professor from St. Oscar's College. The school itself holds little interest for Josh, but through the professor he meets Demeter Anacopulous, a young woman who become the focus of his adolescent fantasies. Determined to lose his virginity to Demeter, Josh sets out to make his dreams reality, much to the confusion of his father, who feels his Jewish son should not be so focused on a Catholic school. Freedman weaves another of his favored themes effectively into the story—his fascination with wordplay—in Josh's interest in creating of false palindromes. Ultimately, despite the humorous situations and Freedman's willingness to poke fun at his characters, the story is at heart about asserting oneself and determining one's own identity. This theme continues throughout the stories as relationships often serve as a catalyst for the characters to start looking inside and to seek out their true purpose and desires. In "Abroad at Christmas," it is the heroine's divorce that inspires her to travel south, where she takes on a new editorial job and aspires to have a series of affairs. The final work in the collection, "Follow the Bursting Bubble," focuses on a man trying to rebuild his life with his son, after his wife has left him for another man, all in the midst of the tentative dot-com industry of the 1990s. In a review for Bookslut, Adam Lipkin dubbed Freedman's work "a collection of small gems," concluding that "striking a balance between light-heartedness and ‘serious’ storytelling, Freedman establishes himself firmly as a contemporary storyteller with an ability to bring characters to life."

The Party of the First Part: The Curious World of Legalese is a very different type of book from Freedman's first effort. Here he mines his background as an attorney and the "Legal Lingo" column that he writes for the New York Law Journal, offering readers a humorous look at the English language and just where it diverges from the vocabulary used for the law. Legal jargon often appears to be the antithesis of standard, good English, taking the most words possible to convey a concept and frequently making a point incomprehensible instead of clear. Freedman addresses the issues around legal language, providing readers with a history that explains the origins of this style of writing. He then proceeds to cover the various aspects of the law that most commonly cause the layman difficulties, including litigation, torts, wills and estates, criminal prosecution and crimes in general, fine print and boilerplate language commonly included on contracts and the like, and laws pertaining to sex and money. For each section, he includes obscure language that is typically used, but that lawyers are familiar with and therefore see no need to explain. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly commented that "this lighthearted farrago of the follies of the law is sure to amuse and to convince readers that legal language can be made plain." Gunnar Birgisson, reviewing for the Legal Times, remarked: "Freedman's support for plain English is a call for clarity, but he also concedes that clarity and coherence exist in the eyes of the beholder. At least we can laugh."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Legal Times, September 24, 2007, Gunnar Birgisson, review of The Party of the First Part: The Curious World of Legalese.

Newsweek International, July 15, 2002, "Weekend Warriors: Freedman Is a Lawyer and Journalist," p. 61.

New York Law Journal, August 3, 2007, Robyn Ice, review of The Party of the First Part.

Publishers Weekly, June 25, 2007, review of The Party of the First Part, p. 45.

Recorder, June 24, 2005, "Give, Devise and Bequeath: The Words in Your Last Will and Testament Could Confound the Grim Reaper"; January 13, 2006, "All the Law's a Stage: And All the Lawyers Merely Metaphors Who Strut and Fret in Shakespeare's Plays"; August 31, 2007, "Minding the Gap between English and Legalese."

ONLINE

Adam Freedman Home Page,http://www.adamfreedman.net (May 20, 2008).

Bookslut,http://www.bookslut.com/ (July 1, 2004), Adam Lipkin, review of Elated by Details: Award-Winning Short Stories.

Party of the First Part Home Page,http://www.partyofthefirstpart.com (May 20, 2008).

Slate,http://www.slate.com/ (October 18, 1999), Adam Freedman, "Diary Entries."

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