James Kaplan is an American novelist, journalist, and biographer. He was born in New York City and grew up in rural Pennsylvania and suburban New Jersey. He matriculated at New York University and graduated from Wesleyan University in 1973 with a degree in studio art. After graduation, Kaplan studied painting at the New York Studio School in Greenwich Village. He is the brother of editor Peter Kaplan.
In the mid-1970s, he worked as a typist at The New Yorker Magazine, where he came under the tutelage of the writer and editor William Maxwell. In the late 70s and early 80s, he published a number of short stories in The New Yorker. In the mid 80s, Kaplan worked for several years as a screenwriter for Warner Brothers. Since the late 1980s, he has been a writer of magazine profiles for Vanity Fair, Entertainment Weekly, New York Magazine, The New York Times Magazine, Esquire, and The New Yorker, among others.
He is the author of the following books, amongst other works:
Frank: The Voice
Two Guys from Verona: A Novel of Suburbia, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year