Allen Kurzweil notes, “Without time, we cannot learn. Without time, we cannot heal.” Novelist, journalist, teacher and inventor, Kurzweil shares his unusual story of trauma and transcendence.
In his nonfiction chronicle Whipping Boy (Harper), Kurzweil does two things: he records his decades-long search for the boarding-school bully who tormented him when he was just ten-years-old, and then, more extraordinarily, confronts the emotional and personal toll that resulted from that youthful encounter by facing down his ancient demon. An “investigative memoir” born of trauma and nourished by obsession, Whipping Boy provides a lens through which audiences young and not-so-young can reflect upon and overcome their own experiences of childhood injustice.
Kurzweil has an uncanny ability to mesmerize audiences of all ages with his narratives of trauma and transcendence, but his portfolio of presentations extends beyond the consequences of bullying. He has also earned high praise for his talks on writing, financial fraud, creativity, the dividends of procrastination, and the central place of libraries in American society. He regularly speaks before schools, religious organizations, and in corporate settings large and small.
Educated at Yale and the University of Rome, Kurzweil has written for numerous publications, including the New Yorker, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Vanity Fair. He has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, Fulbright Commission, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library. Besides his investigative work, Kurzweil is the author of literary fiction (A Case of Curiosities, The Grand Complication), children’s books (the bestselling Leon series), and experiment kits (Potato Chip Science).
He currently resides in Providence, Rhode Island.
Praise for Whipping Boy:
“A fascinating, multi-pronged morality tale about victimhood, skewed perception and the liberation of facing your demons.”
— Washington Post
“A captivating hybrid of investigative journalism and memoir…Kurzweil is not simply settling a private score; he’s standing up for anyone who has ever been bullied.”
— Chicago Tribune
“Kurzweil does the delightfully unexpected: He morphs his story from a poignant memoir into a true-crime thriller.”
“Whipping Boy is like nothing I’ve ever read, an investigative memoir that’s honest, funny, sad, and edge-of-the-chair suspenseful. I loved it.”
— Dan Okrent, author of Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition
“Whipping Boy reads like a European version of American Hustle…Full of intrigue and suspense, the story follows the bizarre twists and turns of one man’s journey to find and confront his childhood tormentor-ready-made for a film treatment.”
— Kirkus Reviews
“Whipping Boy is much more than the search for a bully. Kurzweil takes readers on a suspenseful and thrilling ride.”
“A memoir that reads like a thriller as the author circles the globe to find the man who made his boarding school days a living hell.”
— Tampa Bay Times
“Kurzweil crafts an entertaining, sharply reported picaresque centering on the colorful leaders of the scam, who bamboozled their marks by posing as monocled European aristocrats and produced a fake deed from the fictional King of Mombessa… A crime saga that’s ripe with hilarious humbuggery.”
— Publishers Weekly
“This meditation on pain and memory...only sounds like fiction.”
— Library Journal
“I enjoyed Whipping Boy on so many levels. It’s wonderfully conceived and wonderfully executed.”
— Ricky Jay, author of Learned Pigs and Fireproof Women: Unique, Eccentric and Amazing Entertainers
“Pleasure-packed…makes the wily con artists in American Hustle look stuffy by comparison.”