Illinois Authors

The Illinois Center for the Book banner

Louis Zara

Born: August 2, 1910 in Buffalo, New York
Died: October 5, 2001 in his Manhattan apartment. He was 91.

Pen Name: None

Connection to Illinois: Louis Zara lived in Illinois from the early/mid 1920's through 1951. While in Illinois, Zara attended Crane Tech High School and Crane College and edited the newspapers there. He was educated at the University of Chicago from 1930 to 1931 and was vice-president of Ziff-Davis Publishing Company in Chicago.

Biography: Zara was born in Buffalo, New York by the name Louis Rosenfeld. He legally changed his name to Louis Zara early in his writing career. He attended Crane Tech High School and Crane Junior College in Chicago and edited the newspapers there. He was educated at the University of Chicago from 1930 to 1931. Zara was known for long, weighty novels, many of them with historical heroes, from Stephen Crane to Herman Melville to Philip II of Spain. His style, a ''New York Times'' reviewer observed was 'heavy, vital and impressive.' His first two novels, ''Blessed Is the Man'' and ''Give Us This Day'' were published in 1935. Zara spent half of 1936 in the writers' department at 20th Century Fox in California. Stories of his appeared in ''Mencken's American Mercury'', in ''Coronet'', possibly ''Colliers'', as well as in the old, original ''Esquire''.He wrote for radio and television shows, including ''Stump the Author'' in the mid-1940's. It was a game show for three writers in which Zara was a panelist. This also appeared on early-days TV in Chicago. He also started writing for radio as early as 1940 - Possibly involved in a broadcast series based on the Scattergood Baines stories in collaboration with George Milburn. Zara did not confine himself to writing. He was an executive of the Ziff-Davis Publishing Company in Chicago from 1946 until 1951 when he left for New York City and became the editor-in-chief of the adult trade division of the Follet Publishing Company. '''I have no idea where he learned 'Editorship' or if he simply bootstrapped his way into the field, because the move into the work--at least as far as his children were aware--just sort of happened. In his time with Ziff-Davis and others, he put his blue pencil to quite a variety, from Pulp Sci-Fi mags complete with little green fellows and galactic octopi (Amazing Stories, Fantastic Adventures, etc), to Tech books, an item called Modern Bride, a huge expensive art mag called Masterpieces, sports bios (Leo Durocher) and How-to bookettes, as well as to other peoples' novels.''''''His own Herman Melville bio-novel--alluded to in the NYTimes Obit--as far as I am aware was never published. Not sure if he finally even finished it to his satisfaction. What is apparently without doubt is that he published no novels during the last 40 years of his life.'''Other Interests: '''Zara was an enthusiastic and knowledgeable Greek and Roman numismatist (when he could afford it) and became in later years something of an expert in Minerals and Gems. He produced, along with an Argentine gent named Julio Tanjeloff, a beautiful series called ''Mineral Digest'' (1974-76 (?)).He became an appraiser of Art Objects--solo and as a member and mover in the Appraisers Association of America until his last days.''' He donated his papers to Boston University which maintains an archive. '''''Many thanks to Louis Zara's son, Daniel Zara, for this very personal and in-depth information about his father.'''''

  • -- Chicago Foundation of Literature award in 1940

Primary Literary Genre(s): Fiction

Primary Audience(s): Adult readers

Louis Zara on Howard Gotlieb Archival Resarch Center at Boston University :
Louis Zara on WorldCat :

Selected Titles

Against This Rock
ISBN: 0548057567 OCLC: 1389831

Kessinger Publishing, LLC 1943

Blessed is the man /
ISBN: 0595136125 OCLC: 53079261, Lincoln, NE : ©2000.

Jade /
ISBN: 0595159036 OCLC: 48149819, Lincoln, NE : 2001.