Celebrated writer Bernard Malamud was born in Brooklyn, NY, in 1914. He was educated at the City College of New York (CCNY) and New York's Columbia University, from which he graduated with an M.A. in 1942. After graduation he was a high-school English teacher for most of the rest of the decade and then was offered a job as a Professor of English at Oregon State College, which he accepted.

He wrote his first novel, "The Natural", in 1952 (later made into a hit film, The Natural (1984)), but it didn't attract much notice. His second novel, "The Assistant", came out in 1957 and the result was much different--it sold quite well and brought him into the public eye. In 1959 he won the National Book Award for fiction. In the 1960s he rode the wave of interest in authors writing about Jewish traditions and the Jewish experience in the US (in 1964 he was elected to the National Institute of Arts and Sciences). His next two novels, "A New Life" (1961) and "Idiots First" (1963), got a mixed reception, but his following novel, "The Fixer" in 1967, won him the National Book Award in addition to a Pulitzer Prize (it was also made into a very successful film, The Fixer (1968)). From 1966 to 1968 he was a visiting lecturer at Harvard University.