Fried, Ronald K. 1955-
FRIED, Ronald K. 1955-
Born August 30, 1955, in Mineola, NY; son of Stanley (a dentist) and Carolyn (a homemaker) Fried; married Lorraine Kreahling (a writer), June 16, 1990. Education: Columbia University, B.A., 1977. Politics: Democrat. Religion: Jewish (non-practicing).
Home—New York, NY.
Writer. Worked as a television producer for nearly thirty years, beginning 1979.
Corner Men: Great Boxing Trainers, Four Walls Eight Windows (New York, NY), 1991.
My Father's Fighter (fiction), Permanent Press Publishing (Sag Harbor, NY), 2004.
Christmas in Paris, 2002 (fiction), Permanent Press Publishing (Sag Harbor, NY), 2005.
Contributor to reference books. Contributor to periodicals, including Newsday, New York Times, and Ring.
Ronald K. Fried told CA: "Whenever I say I don't like to talk about myself, I wonder if I'm being honest. But now that I sit down to write about myself, it seems I've been telling the truth. Perhaps I'm suspicious of shameless exhibition of the self because I've seen so much of it firsthand while working in the television business. My television career began in 1979 at The Dick Cavett Show in its Public Broadcasting Service iteration. I eventually became a producer there—a young would-be writer thrilled to be producing Cavett's interviews with the likes of Saul Bellow, John Updike, John Cheever, Louis Auchincloss, and others. During that time I thought of myself as a writer making a living by working in television, but it wasn't until I wrote Corner Men: Great Boxing Trainers that I actually became a published writer. I've continued to work in television over the years. Most recently I was senior producer on Tina Brown's CNBC program.
"My literary aspirations began early on. I was the editor in chief of my high school newspaper. At Columbia University, I majored in English and took a writing class with Elizabeth Hardwick. Her encouragement certainly bolstered my confidence, and I deeply admire her novel Sleepless Nights for the depths of its insights and the way it tells its stories in an economical and entirely contemporary style. At Columbia, I also studied twentieth-century literature with Professor Michael Wood, who is now at Princeton. Wood is a brilliant critical writer besides being a great, great teacher. I can hear his voice when I try to think seriously about literary matters or any matters at all, come to think of it. When I graduated from Columbia, I won the Cornell Woolrich writing fellowship. It carried a three-thousand-dollar prize with one condition: the recipient could not go to graduate school. I used the money to go to Paris where I wrote a novella that was never published.
"Skipping ahead, I continued to do various television jobs at places like the USA Network, VH1, the History Channel, and Lifetime. Eventually I spent five years as a vice president and executive producer at MetroTV, where I won five New York Emmy Awards, but I was always writing something on the weekends. If you write five pages every Saturday and five pages every Sunday, it adds up. While at Metro, I wrote My Father's Fighter. The novel is set in the boxing world and was inspired by all the characters I met while researching my nonfiction boxing book. Joyce Carol Oates calls boxing America's tragic theater, and to me it offered a way to write about masculinity, sexuality, celebrity, race, and violence—all of which are very American subjects.
" Christmas in Paris, 2002 takes place in Paris on the eve of the American invasion of Iraq. The novel is about an executive who loses his job in the economic downturn that followed 9/11. It's about how history and economics affect the individual and change what it's like to be an American abroad.
"Since college I've been a fairly dedicated Joycean. My taste in contemporary authors is woefully mainstream. I love Bellow, Martin Amis, Norman Mailer, John Cheever, Susan Sontag, Elizabeth Hardwick, and Harold Pinter. Ten years ago I discovered Balzac—because of Bellow, it turns out. A character in More Die of Heartbreak says, to paraphrase, that unless you've read Balzac, you won't understand what's happening when someone puts the screws to you. I decided to get wised up, to use a Bellow-like phrase. I read Père Goriot, and I was thrilled—and hooked. I went on to read—and re-read—all the Balzac that I could find in English. I admire Balzac's fascination with how the world works, as well as the confidence he shows in moving from the street to the heights of French society. Bellow has that range, as does Amis."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, October 1, 2005, David Pitt, review of Christmas in Paris, 2002.
Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 2004, review of My
Father's Fighter, p. 99; September 1, 2005, review of Christmas in Paris, 2002.
New York Times, May 16, 2004, review of My Father's Fighter; January 26, 2006, review of Christmas in Paris, 2002.
Publishers Weekly, August 29, 2005, review of Christmas in Paris, 2002, p. 32.
Sports Illustrated, July 29, 1991, Ron Fimrite, review of Cover Men: Great Boxing Trainers, p. 8.