Brow Beat

Tom Wolfe, Novelist and New Journalism Pioneer, Has Died at 88

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 30:  Tom Wolfe attends 'Rolling Stone Stories From The Edge' World Premiere at Florence Gould Hall on October 30, 2017 in New York City.  (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)
Tom Wolfe in 2017.
Theo Wargo/Getty Images

Writer Tom Wolfe died Monday in a New York City hospital at 88 years old.* He was a journalist and novelist renowned for his lyrical nonfiction writing, whiz-bang sentences, and sartorial flair. Originally from Richmond, Virginia, Wolfe moved to New York in 1962 when he began work as a reporter for the New York Herald Tribune.

Wolfe’s most notable works include 1968’s The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, about Ken Kesey and his LSD-loving Merry Pranksters; his 1979 nonfiction epic about the space program, The Right Stuff, which was adapted into the Oscar-winning 1983 film of the same name; and his 1987 novel The Bonfire of the Vanities, which was adapted into a Brian De Palma film that was notably less successful. Wolfe was a major influence on the New Journalism movement of the 1960s and ’70s, which appropriated novelistic literary techniques into nonfiction writing, as well as a New York fashion icon thanks to his Mark Twain–esque white suits.

Slate will have more on Wolfe later today.

Correction, May 15, 2018: An earlier version of this post misstated Wolfe’s age as 87. He died at 88.