Leslie Donald Epstein (born on May 4, 1938 in Los Angeles, California) is an American novelist.
He has written nine novels including King of the Jews (1979), Pandaemonium (1997), and San Remo Drive: A Novel from Memory (2004), based on his childhood growing up in Hollywood in the 1940s and 50s. His most recent novels are The Eighth Wonder of the World, published by Other Press in October 2006, and Liebestod: Opera Buffa with Lieb Goldkorn, published by W. W. Norton & Co. in February 2012. He has written articles for Esquire (magazine), The Atlantic Monthly, Playboy, Harper's, The Yale Review, The Nation, The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post and The Boston Globe. His son is Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein.
Among those articles, he wrote an essay, "Returning to Proust's World Stirs Remembrance", for the New York Times series, "Writers on Writing" (Vol. II). In it, he defined reading Proust "ala Epstein" as reading Proust each night before bedtime by confining the session to two pages of five minutes, thus creating a five year project to complete all the volumes of "A la recherche du temps perdu." His rationale: "It is not a bad idea to keep a nightly appointment with a noble mind; it has the power to purify even the most wasted day."
For more than twenty years, Leslie Epstein has been the director of the Creative Writing Program at Boston University, where he joined the faculty in 1978. In February 2007, his play "King of the Jews" (not an adaptation of his earlier novel, but an independent realization of the same theme) was premiered at Boston Playwrights' Theatre to critical acclaim.
American/Bengali short story writer Jhumpa Lahiri regards Leslie Epstein as the person who gave her the confidence to write her stories. While she was attending the Creative Writing Program at Boston University, he called her a writer which became the encouragement she needed to take her work further.
Epstein's father Philip G. Epstein and uncle Julius J. Epstein were screenwriters and won an Academy Award for Casablanca.
His son Theo Epstein is the President of Baseball Operations for the Chicago Cubs. His daughter Anya Epstein is a television writer.