From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Howard Jacobson (born 24 August, 1942) is a British author. He is best known for writing comic novels which tend to revolve around the dilemmas of British Jewish characters but he is also a non-fiction writer and journalist.
Jacobson was born in Manchester, brought up in Prestwich and was educated at Stand Grammar School in Whitefield, and Downing College, Cambridge, where he studied under F. R. Leavis. He lectured for three years at the University of Sydney (where he was criticised by students for his teaching style and extra-curricular interests) before returning to England to teach at Selwyn College, Cambridge.
His later teaching assignments included, in the 1970s, a stint at Wolverhampton Polytechnic.
Although he has described himself as "a Jewish Jane Austen," he also states, "I'm not by any means conventionally Jewish. I don't go to shul. What I feel is that I have a Jewish mind, I have a Jewish intelligence. I feel linked to previous Jewish minds of the past. I don't know what kind of trouble this gets somebody into, a disputatious mind. What a Jew is has been made by the experience of 5,000 years, that's what shapes the Jewish sense of humour, that's what shaped Jewish pugnacity or tenaciousness." He maintains that "comedy is a very important part of what I do." 
His time at Wolverhampton was to form the basis of his first novel, Coming from Behind, a campus comedy about a failing polytechnic which plans to merge facilities with a local football club. The episode of teaching in a football stadium in the novel is, according to Jacobson in a 1985 BBC interview, the only portion of the novel which is based on a true incident.
His fiction, particularly in the five novels he has published since 1998, is characterised chiefly by a discursive, humorous style, and recurring subjects include male-female relations and the Jewish experience in Britain in the mid- to late-20th century. He has been compared to prominent Jewish-American novelists such as Philip Roth, in particular for their habit of creating doppelgängers of themselves in their fiction. His 1999 novel The Mighty Walzer, about a teenage table tennis champion, won the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for comic writing. It is set in the Manchester of the 1950s and Jacobson, himself a teen ping pong fan, admits that there is more than an element of autobiography to it. Both it and his 2002 novel Who's Sorry Now - the central character of which is the Jewish luggage baron of South London - and his 2006 novel Kalooki Nights were longlisted for the Man Booker Prize.
He is often referred to as "the British Philip Roth" although this is largely concerned with the fact that he is Jewish and has written comic novels. Unlike Philip Roth though, his novels have retained their humour as he's got older. His most recent novel, Kalooki Nights (2006) he described as "the most Jewish novel that has ever been written by anybody, anywhere." 
As well as his fiction, he also writes a weekly column for The Independent newspaper as an op-ed writer. In recent times, he has, on several occasions, attacked anti-Israel boycotts, and for this reason has been labelled a "liberal Zionist".
He has also written a travel book, In the Land of Oz, researched during his time as a visiting academic in Sydney and published in 1987.
He has also worked as a broadcaster. Two recent television programmes include Channel 4's Howard Jacobson Takes on the Turner, in 2000, and a South Bank Show special entitled Why the Novel Matters in 2002. In addition, his work has received an unusually high degree of exposure on television. He was the subject of a South Bank Show special in 1999 and a television documentary entitled My Son the Novelist in 1985. His two non-fiction books Roots Schmoots: Journeys Among Jews (1993), and Seriously Funny: From the Ridiculous to the Sublime (1997), were both bought and turned into television series.
- Coming From Behind, Chatto & Windus, 1983
- Peeping Tom, Chatto & Windus, 1984
- Redback, Bantam, 1986
- The Very Model of a Man, Viking, 1992
- No More Mister Nice Guy, Cape, 1998
- The Mighty Walzer, Cape, 1999
- Who's Sorry Now, Cape, 2002
- The Making of Henry, Cape, 2004
- Kalooki Nights, Cape, 2006
- The Act of Love, Cape, 2008
- Shakespeare's Magnanimity: Four Tragic Heroes, Their Friends and Families (co-author with Wilbur Sanders), Chatto & Windus, 1978
- In the Land of Oz, Hamish Hamilton, 1987
- Roots Schmoots: Journeys Among Jews, Viking, 1993
- Seriously Funny: From the Ridiculous to the Sublime, Viking, 1997