Richard Price (born October 12, 1949) is an American novelist and screenwriter, known for the books The Wanderers (1974), Clockers (1992) and Lush Life (2008). Price's novels explore late-20th century urban America in a gritty, realistic manner that has brought him considerable literary acclaim. Several of his novels are set in a fictional northern New Jersey city called Dempsy. In addition to writing literature, he writes for television, including The Wire and The Night Of.
Early life and education
Price was born in the Bronx, New York City, the son of Harriet (Rosenbaum) and Milton Price, a window dresser. A self-described "lower middle class Jewish kid", he grew up in a housing project in the northeast Bronx. He graduated from the Bronx High School of Science in 1967 and obtained a B.A. from Cornell University and an MFA from Columbia University. He also did graduate work at Stanford University.
Price's first novel was The Wanderers (1974), a coming-of-age story set in the Bronx in 1962, written when Price was 24 years old. It was adapted into a film in 1979, with a screenplay by Rose Kaufman and Philip Kaufman and directed by the latter.
Clockers (1992) was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award. It has been praised for its humor, suspense, dialogue, and character development. In 1995, it served as the basis for a film directed by Spike Lee; Price and Lee shared writing credits for the screenplay.
In his review of Price's novel Lush Life (2008), Walter Kirn compared Price to Raymond Chandler and Saul Bellow. In July 2010, a group art show inspired by Lush Life was held in nine galleries in New York City.
Price wrote a detective novel entitled The Whites under the pen name Harry Brandt. The book was released February 17, 2015. Film producer Scott Rudin will be producing a film version of the novel.
Price has written numerous screenplays, including The Color of Money (1986) (for which he was nominated for an Oscar), Life Lessons (the Martin Scorsese segment of New York Stories) (1989), Sea of Love (1989), Mad Dog and Glory (1993), Ransom (1996), and Shaft (2000). He wrote the screenplay for the film Child 44, which was released in April 2015. Price did uncredited work on the film American Gangster (2008).
Price wrote and conceptualized the 18-minute film surrounding Michael Jackson's "Bad" video. He also wrote for the HBO series The Wire. Price won the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Dramatic Series at the February 2008 ceremony for his work on the fifth season of The Wire. He created a police drama series NYC 22 in 2012, it was cancelled after one season. His eight-part HBO miniseries The Night Of premiered in July 2016.
He is often cast in cameo roles in the films he writes.
He has published articles in The New York Times, Esquire Magazine, The New Yorker, Village Voice, Rolling Stone and others. He has taught writing at Binghamton University, Columbia, Yale University, and New York University. He was one of the first people interviewed on the NPR show Fresh Air when it began airing nationally in 1987.
In 1999, he received the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature. He was inducted into the Academy in 2009.
Price lives in Harlem in New York City, and is married to the journalist and author Lorraine Adams.
- The Color of Money (1986)
- New York Stories (1989)
- Sea of Love (1989)
- Night and the City (1992)
- Mad Dog and Glory (1993)
- Clockers (1995)
- Kiss of Death (1995)
- Ransom (1996)
- Shaft (2000)
- The Wire (2002)
- Freedomland (2006)
- Child 44 (2014)
- The Night Of (2016)