Bret Easton Ellis (born March 7, 1964 in Los Angeles, California) is an American novelist and short story writer. He was regarded as one of the so-called literary Brat Pack, which also included Tama Janowitz and Jay McInerney. He is a self-proclaimed "moralist." Ellis employs a technique of linking novels with common, recurring characters.
He was born March 7, 1964 in Los Angeles and raised in Sherman Oaks in the San Fernando Valley, the son of Robert Martin Ellis, a wealthy property developer, and Dale Ellis, a homemaker. His parents divorced in 1982. He was educated at The Buckley School, where he did not distinguish himself; then he took a music-based course at Bennington College in Vermont, which is thinly disguised as Camden College in all of his novels. He was a part-time musician in 1980s bands such as The Parents before his first book was published.
Less Than Zero, a tale of disaffected, rich teenagers of Los Angeles, was praised by critics and sold well (50,000 copies in its first year). He moved to New York City in 1987 for the publication of his second novel. His second published work, The Rules of Attraction, follows a group of sexually promiscuous college students, and sold fairly well, though Ellis admits he felt he had "fallen off", after the novel failed to match the success of his debut effort. The novel introduced Patrick Bateman, who would become the principal character of his controversial third novel. His most controversial work, the graphically violent novel American Psycho, was intended to be published by Simon & Schuster, but they withdrew after external protests from groups such as the NOW and many others due to the alleged misogynistic nature of the book. The novel was later published by Vintage. Some consider this novel, whose protagonist, Patrick Bateman, is both a cartoonishly materialistic yuppie and a serial killer, to be an example of transgressive art. American Psycho has achieved considerable cult status.