George Pelecanos

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

George Pelecanos
George pelecanos 2013.jpg
George Pelecanos at the 2013 Texas Book Festival.
Born(1957-02-18) February 18, 1957 (age 57)
Washington, D.C., United States
OccupationNovelist, Journalist, Television Writer
NationalityAmerican
SubjectCrime fiction
Website
www.hachettebookgroup.com/features/georgepelecanos/
 
Jump to: navigation, search
George Pelecanos
George pelecanos 2013.jpg
George Pelecanos at the 2013 Texas Book Festival.
Born(1957-02-18) February 18, 1957 (age 57)
Washington, D.C., United States
OccupationNovelist, Journalist, Television Writer
NationalityAmerican
SubjectCrime fiction
Website
www.hachettebookgroup.com/features/georgepelecanos/
"Pelecanos" redirects here. For the private investigator and Federal convict and defendant, see Anthony Pellicano.

George P. Pelecanos (born 18 Feb 1957)[1] is an American author. Many of his works are in the genre of detective fiction and set primarily in his hometown of Washington, D.C. He is also a film and television producer and a television writer. He worked extensively on the HBO series The Wire.

Early life[edit]

Pelecanos, a Greek American, was born in Washington, D.C. in 1957.

Career[edit]

Novelist[edit]

Pelecanos's early novels were written in the first person voice of Nick Stefanos, a Greek D.C. resident and some-time private investigator.

After the success of his first four novels, the Stefanos-narrated A Firing Offense, Nick's Trip, and Down by the River Where the Dead Men Go, and the non-series (though some characters do cross over) Shoedog, Pelecanos switched his narrative style considerably and expanded the scope of his fiction with his D.C. Quartet. He has commented that he did not feel he had the ability to be this ambitious earlier in his career.[2] The quartet, often compared to James Ellroy's L.A. Quartet, spanned several decades and communities within the changing population of Washington. Now writing in the third person, Pelecanos relegated Stefanos to a supporting character and introduced his first "salt and pepper" team of crime fighters, Dimitri Karras and Marcus Clay.

In The Big Blowdown, set a generation before Karras and Clay would appear (the 1950s), Pelecanos followed the lives of dozens of D.C. residents, tracking the challenges and changes that the second half of the twentieth century presented to Washingtonians. King Suckerman, set in the 1970s and generally regarded as the fans' favorite, introduced the recurring theme of basketball in Pelecanos' fiction. Typically, he employs the sport as a symbol of cooperation amongst the races, suggesting the dynamism of D.C. as reflective of the good will generated by multi-ethnic pick up games. However, he also indulges the reverse of the equation, wherein the basketball court becomes the site of unresolved hostilities. In such cases, violent criminal behavior typically emerges amongst the participants, usually escalating the mystery. The Sweet Forever (1980s) and Shame the Devil (1990s) closed the quartet and Pelecanos retired Stefanos and the other characters that populated the novels. (Stefanos and other characters do re-appear in subsequent works.)

In 2001, he introduced a new team of private detectives, Derek Strange and Terry Quinn, as the protagonists of Right as Rain. They have subsequently starred in the author's more recent works Hell to Pay (which won a Gumshoe Award in 2003) and Soul Circus. While these books have cemented the author's reputation as one of the best current American crime writers and sold consistently, they have not garnered the critical and cult affection his D.C. quartet did. Rather, they seem to be continuing the author's well received formula of witty protagonists chasing unconflicted criminals behind the backdrop of popular culture references and D.C. landmarks.

Perhaps sensing this, Pelecanos again switched his focus in his 2004 novel, Hard Revolution, taking one of his new detectives, Derek Strange, back in time to his early days on the D.C. police force. In another interesting move, Pelecanos attached a CD to the book itself, emulating Michael Connelly who included a CD with his 2003 Harry Bosch book Lost Light.

In 2005, Pelecanos saw another novel published, Drama City. This book revisited the examination of dogfighting begun in his book Hell To Pay. Pelecanos is a dog owner and has written about his views of dogfighting.[3]

In 2006 he published The Night Gardener, which was a major change of style and which featured a cameo of himself. Pelecanos has also published short fiction in a variety of anthologies and magazines, including Measures of Poison and Usual Suspects. His reviews have been published in The Washington Post Book World, The New York Times Book Review, and elsewhere.

The Turnaround was published in August 2008, reflecting a return to his roots, as the novel opens in the 70s in a Greek diner, and a continuation of his more modern style in the portion set in the present. The Turnaround won the 2008's Hammett Prize.

In 2011, Pelecanos published "The Cut", introducing the character Spero Lucas, a young veteran of the Iraq war. The former Marine works part-time as a private investigator for a D.C. defense attorney as well as taking jobs finding stolen items for a 40% cut of the value of the returned item. In 2013, Pelecanos published "The Double", the second Spero Lucas book.

Film and television[edit]

Pelecanos has written and produced for HBO's The Wire and is part of a literary circle with The Wire creator David Simon and novelist Laura Lippman. Simon sought out Pelecanos after reading his work. Simon was recommended his novels several times but did not read his work initially because of territorial prejudice; Simon is from Baltimore.[4] Once Simon received further recommendations, including one from Lippman, he tried The Sweet Forever and changed his mind.[5] The two writers have much in common including a childhood in Silver Spring, Maryland, attendance at the University of Maryland and their interest in the "fate of the American city and the black urban poor".[5] They first met at the funeral of a mutual friend shortly after Simon delivered the pilot episode.[5] Simon pitched Pelecanos the idea of The Wire as a novel for television about the American city as Pelecanos drove him home.[5] Pelecanos was excited about the prospect of writing something more than simple mystery for television as he strived to exceed the boundaries of genre in his novels.[5]

Pelecanos joined the crew as a writer for the first season in 2002.[6] He wrote the teleplay for the seasons's penultimate episode "Cleaning Up" from a story by Simon and Ed Burns.[7][8] Pelecanos was promoted to producer for the second season in 2003.[9] He wrote the teleplay for the episodes "Duck and Cover"[10][11] and "Bad Dreams" from stories he co-wrote with Simon.[12][13] He remained a writer and producer for the third season in 2004.[14] He wrote the teleplay for the episodes "Hamsterdam"[15][16] and "Middle Ground" from stories he co-wrote with Simon.[17][18] Simon wrote the teleplay for the episode "Slapstick" from a story he co-wrote with Pelecanos.[19][20] Simon and Pelecanos' collaboration on "Middle Ground" received the show's first Emmy Award nomination, in the category Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series.[21] Pelecanos left the production staff of The Wire after the show's third season to concentrate on writing his novel The Night Gardener.[22] His role as a producer was taken on by Eric Overmyer.[22]

George Pelecanos at the Quais du polar (fr), Lyon, in 2008

Pelecanos remained a writer for the fourth season in 2006. He wrote the teleplay for the penultimate episode "That's Got His Own" from a story he co-wrote with producer Ed Burns.[23][24] Simon has commented that he missed having Pelecanos working on the show full-time but was a fan of The Night Gardener.[22] Simon also spent time embedded with a homicide unit while researching his own book Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets. Pelecanos and the writing staff won the Writers Guild of America (WGA) Award for Best Dramatic Series at the February 2008 ceremony and the 2007 Edgar Award for Best Television Feature/Mini-Series Teleplay for their work on the fourth season.[25][26] Pelecanos returned as a writer for the series fifth and final season. He wrote the teleplay for the episode "Late Editions" from a story he co-wrote with Simon.[5][27][28] Pelecanos and the writing staff were again nominated for the WGA award for Best Dramatic Series at the February 2009 ceremony for their work on the fifth season but Mad Men won the award.[29]

Following the conclusion of The Wire Pelecanos joined the crew of the HBO World War II mini-series The Pacific as a co-producer and writer.[30] After a lengthy production process the series aired in 2010. He co-wrote "Part 3" of the series with fellow co-producer Michelle Ashford.[31] The episode focused on Marines on leave in Australia and featured a displaced Greek family in a prominent guest role.[31][32] Pelecanos saw the project as a chance to make a tribute to his father, Pete Pelecanos, who served as a Marine in the Philippines.[33]

Also in 2010 Pelecanos joined the crew of HBO New Orleans drama Treme as a writer. The series was created by Simon and Overmeyer. It follows the lives of residents of the Tremé neighborhood after Hurricane Katrina.[34] Pelecanos wrote the teleplay for the episode "At the Foot of Canal Street" from a story he co-wrote with Overmyer.[35]

Personal life[edit]

As of 2006, Pelecanos lives in the Washington, D.C. suburb of Silver Spring, Maryland[36] with his wife and three children.

Works[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

Novels[edit]

Nick Stefanos Series[edit]
D.C. Quartet Series[edit]
Derek Strange and Terry Quinn Series[edit]
Spero Lucas Series[edit]

Short Stories[edit]

Editor[edit]

Filmography[edit]

Production staff

YearShowRoleNotes
2013TremeExecutive producerSeason 4
2012Executive producerSeason 3
2011Consulting producerSeason 2
2010The PacificCo-producerMini-series
2004The WireProducerSeason 3
2003ProducerSeason 2

Writer

YearShowSeasonEpisode titleEpisodeNotes
2011Treme2"What is New Orleans?"[40]9Teleplay by Pelecanos, story by Pelecanos and David Simon
20101"At the Foot of Canal Street"[35][41]4Teleplay by Pelecanos, story by Pelecanos and Eric Overmyer
The Pacific1Part 3[31]3Co-written with Michelle Ashford
2008The Wire5"Late Editions"[27][28]9Teleplay by Pelecanos, story by Pelecanos and David Simon
20064"That's Got His Own"[23][24]12Teleplay by Pelecanos, story by Pelecanos and Ed Burns
20043"Middle Ground"[17][18]11Teleplay by Pelecanos, story by Pelecanos and David Simon
"Slapstick"[19][20]9Teleplay by David Simon, story by Pelecanos and David Simon
"Hamsterdam"[15][16]4Teleplay by Pelecanos, story by Pelecanos and David Simon
20032"Bad Dreams"[12][13]11Teleplay by Pelecanos, story by Pelecanos and David Simon
"Duck and Cover"[10][11]8Teleplay by Pelecanos, story by Pelecanos and David Simon
20021"Cleaning Up"[7][8]12Teleplay by Pelecanos, story by David Simon and Ed Burns

Awards[edit]

YearAwardCategoryResultWorkNotes
2009Writers Guild of America AwardOutstanding Dramatic SeriesNominated[29]The Wire season 5Shared with Ed Burns, Chris Collins, Dennis Lehane, David Mills, Richard Price, David Simon and William F. Zorzi
2008Won[26]The Wire season 4Shared with Ed Burns, Chris Collins, Kia Corthron, Dennis Lehane, David Mills, Eric Overmyer, Richard Price, David Simon and William F. Zorzi
2007Edgar AwardBest Television Feature/Mini-Series TeleplayWon[25]Shared with Ed Burns, Kia Corthron, Dennis Lehane, David Mills, Eric Overmyer, Richard Price, David Simon and William F. Zorzi
2005Emmy AwardOutstanding Writing for a Drama SeriesNominated[21]The Wire episode "Middle Ground"Shared with co-writer David Simon
1999Maltese Falcon Award, JapanBest hardboiled mystery novel published in JapanWonThe Big Blowdown

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Birthdays", The Guardian, 18 Feb 2014 
  2. ^ Robert Birnbaum. "Interview: George Pelecanos". Identity Theory. Retrieved 2007-09-17. 
  3. ^ George Pelecanos. "Dogfighting's Poisonous Politics". New Republic. Retrieved 2007-09-01. 
  4. ^ Mary Alice Blackwell. "Fun comes down to 'The Wire'". Daily Progress. Retrieved 2006-09-27. [dead link]
  5. ^ a b c d e f Margaret Talbot (2007). "Stealing Life". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2007-10-14. 
  6. ^ "Season 1 crew". HBO. 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-14. 
  7. ^ a b "Episode guide - episode 12 The Hunt". HBO. 2004. Retrieved 2006-07-31. 
  8. ^ a b David Simon, Ed Burns, George P. Pelecanos (2002-09-01). "Cleaning Up". The Wire. Season 1. Episode 12. HBO.
  9. ^ "Season 2 crew". HBO. 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-14. 
  10. ^ a b "Episode guide - episode 21 duck and cover". HBO. 2004. Retrieved 2006-06-22. 
  11. ^ a b David Simon, George P. Pelecanos (2003-07-27). "Duck and Cover". The Wire. Season 2. Episode 8. HBO.
  12. ^ a b "Episode guide - episode 24 bad dreams". HBO. 2004. Retrieved 2006-06-22. 
  13. ^ a b David Simon, George P. Pelecanos (2003-08-17). "Bad Dreams". The Wire. Season 2. Episode 11. HBO.
  14. ^ "Season 3 crew". HBO. 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-14. 
  15. ^ a b "Episode guide - episode 29 Amsterdam". HBO. 2004. Retrieved 2006-08-07. 
  16. ^ a b David Simon, Ed Burns (2004-10-10). "Amsterdam". The Wire. Season 3. Episode 4. HBO.
  17. ^ a b "Episode guide - episode 36 middle ground". HBO. 2004. Retrieved 2006-08-09. 
  18. ^ a b David Simon, George P. Pelecanos (2004-12-12). "Middle Ground". The Wire. Season 3. Episode 11. HBO.
  19. ^ a b "Episode guide - episode 34 slapstick". HBO. 2004. Retrieved 2006-08-09. 
  20. ^ a b David Simon, George P. Pelecanos (2004-11-21). "Slapstick". The Wire. Season 3. Episode 9. HBO.
  21. ^ a b "Emmy award archives". Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-16. 
  22. ^ a b c "Exclusive David Simon Q&A". AOL. 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-14. 
  23. ^ a b "Episode guide - episode 49 That's Got His Own". HBO. 2006. Retrieved 2007-03-30. 
  24. ^ a b Ed Burns, George Pelecanos (2004-12-03). "That's Got His Own". The Wire. Season 4. Episode 12. HBO.
  25. ^ a b "Curtains Receives Edgar Award Nomination". Theatre Mania. 
  26. ^ a b "2008 Writers Guild Awards Television & Radio Nominees Announced". WGA. 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-13. 
  27. ^ a b Joe Chappelle (2008-03-02). "Late Editions". The Wire. Season 5. Episode 9. HBO.
  28. ^ a b "The Wire episode guide - episode 59 Late Editions". HBO. 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-10. 
  29. ^ a b "2009 Writers Guild Awards Television, Radio, News, Promotional Writing, and Graphic Animation Nominees Announced". WGA. 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-12. 
  30. ^ "The Pacific Cast and Crew - George Pelecanos". HBO. 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-15. 
  31. ^ a b c Jeremy Podeswa (3/28/2010). "Part 3". The Pacific. Season 1. Episode 3. HBO.
  32. ^ "The Pacific Part 3 - synopsis". HBO. 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-15. 
  33. ^ George Pelecanos (2010). "George Pelecanos on Film - The Pacific". Hatchett Book Group USA. Retrieved 2010-05-15. 
  34. ^ George Pelecanos (2010). "Pelcanos on Film - Treme". Hatchett Book Group USA. Retrieved 2010-05-15. 
  35. ^ a b Anthony Hemingway (5/2/2010). "At The Foot of Canal Street". Treme. Season 1. Episode 4. HBO.
  36. ^ Walker Lamond. "DC Confidential". Stop Smiling. Retrieved 2008-09-21. 
  37. ^ Allman, Kevin (2009-05-11). "WaPo review - The Way Home". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-05-03. 
  38. ^ Ashman, Jud. "The Cut review". Book review. The Washington Independent Review of Books. Retrieved Sep 8, 2011. 
  39. ^ Hewitt, Duncan (2012-09-26). "‘Treme’ Writer and Detective Novelist George Pelecanos: How I Write". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 2012-10-22. 
  40. ^ HBO. "Treme episode "What is New Orleans?" synopsis". Retrieved June 21, 2011. 
  41. ^ HBO. "Treme episode "At the Foot of Canal Street" synopsis". Retrieved May 10, 2010. 

External links[edit]