Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  John McNally  

Pen Name: None

Genre:

Born: Chicago, Illinois

Sites:


Illinois Connection

John is from the southwest side of Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

John McNally, Associate Professor of English and Director of Creative Writing at Wake forest University, is author of three novels, two story collections, and a nonfiction book. His next book, Vivid and Continuous, a collection of essays on craft, will be published in the spring of 2013. His writing has appeared in over one hundred magazines, newspapers, and textbooks, including Washington Post, the Sun, Virginia Quarterly Review, and Chicago Tribune.


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

Troublemakers (The John Simmons Short Fiction Award)
ISBN: 1439501505

Paw Prints 2008-06-26. 2008

Troublemakers is an often hilarious, sometimes frightening, occasionally off-the-wall collection of stories about men living on the edge. From the streets of Chicago's southwest side to the rural roads of Nebraska to the small towns of southern Illinois, these men tread a very fine line between right and wrong, love and hate, humor and horror.

Each story is a Pandora's box waiting to be opened: a high school boy with a new driver's license picks his brother up from jail

a UPS driver suspects his wife of having an affair but cannot find any tangible evidence of her indiscretion

an unemployed man's life begins to unravel after he discovers a dead man in a tree in his own backyard

two boys spend Halloween with an older thug

a young college teacher's patience is tested by both his annoying colleagues and the criminals who haunt his neighborhood. In story after story, McNally's troublemakers lead readers to a place no less thrilling or dangerous than the human heart itself.

The Book of Ralph: A Novel
ISBN: 0743257774

Free Press. 2005

All of us need a Ralph in our lives. Chicago, 1978. Hank Boyd, a solid B+ student, a good kid, wants eighth grade to be his special year. But when Ralph, an oddball troublemaker who ' s been held back twice, gets the idea that he and Hank are pals, Hank's year devolves into an odyssey as frightening as it is hilarious. John McNally, acclaimed author of Troublemakers, deftly portrays the astonishing, sometimes terrifying world of adolescence in 1970s America: The adult world becomes increasingly untrustworthy, the economy plummets, and families seem to be falling apart, yet the two boys manage to create their own small moments of transcendence. At once wary and full of wonder, Hank and Ralph will win your heart with their outrageous, poignant, and occasionally scary antics - and they will teach you something about the ties that bind us together, hold us back, and redeem us.

America's Report Card: A Novel
ISBN: 0743256263

Free Press. 2006

Having written a scathing essay about her disgust with the government's standardized testing process, Jainey skips her final weeks of high school, while part-time test scorer Charlie reads Jainey's essay and recognizes her as a person needing help.

After the Workshop: A Memoir of Jack Hercules Sheahan
ISBN: 158243560X

Counterpoint. 2010

You graduate from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop with a short story published in The New Yorker and subsequently Best American Short Stories. You stay in town and work on your novel. And work on your novel. Until, finally, twelve years have passed and you are working as a media escort for author tours and your unfinished novel sits in a box under your bed. Your girlfriend has left you. Your car is missing a muffler. Your neighbor is walking around naked because his hands are bandaged and he can’t unzip his pants. You are at the whims of a slew of increasingly crazy writers, and when one of them disappears, an insane New York publicist begins stalking you. This is the life of Jack Hercules Sheahan, a character well understood by author John McNally. He is also a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop as well as a former media escort, and these misadventures are brought to life by his very own. Recalling the ease and humor of novels by Nick Hornby and Michael Chabon, After the Workshop tells the satirical story of a writer who confronts the demons from his past while escorting those of his present.


Awards

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