J.C. Hallman can be reached most directly through JCHallman.com. He grew up in Southern California and studied creative writing at the University of Pittsburgh, the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins. After graduate school, Hallman worked for a time in the casino industry in New Jersey, dealing blackjack, craps, and high action baccarat.
Hallman’s nonfiction combines memoir, history, journalism, and travelogue, and has been compared to Tom Wolfe and Bruce Chatwin. His first book, The Chess Artist, tells the story of Hallman’s friendship with chess player Glenn Umstead, whom he first encountered in Atlantic City. Together the two traveled to Russia and experienced a variety of adventures that reveal the quirkiness of the chess subculture. His second book, The Devil is a Gentleman, is about Hallman’s intellectual apprenticeship with philosopher William James. Through visits to a number of contemporary offbeat religious movements, during which he experiences a range of rites and ceremonies, Hallman explores the ways in which James’s thinking continues to inform America’s religious identity.
A collection of Hallman's short stories, The Hospital for Bad Poets, will be published by Milkweed Editions in 2009. A third book of nonfiction, In Eutopia, is forthcoming from St. Martin's Press, and in October 2009 Tin House Books will be publishing The Story About the Story, a collection in which Hallman, in his job as editor, has pored over countless collected essays on the craft of fiction, searching for pieces in which the author approaches literature from a personal angle. The result is a provocative, intelligent, and at times hilarious discussion of literature and life. Never before collected in a single volume, the essays in The Story About the Story feature lively discussions of great literature by some of the most prominent authors of all time, including Oscar Wilde, Virginia Woof, Cynthia Ozick and Salman Rushdie.
Hallman has taught at a number of colleges and universities. He currently lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.
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