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David Warren Berner

Born: 1956 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pen Name: David W. Berner

Connection to Illinois: Berner has lived in Rogers Park, Glen Ellyn, and Naperville. He attended graduate school at Aurora University, in Aurora. He moved from Pittsburgh to Chicago to work as a radio reporter and news anchor for CBS Radio and later pursued a career as a writer and educator. His first book ACCIDENTAL LESSONS is about his year teaching in one of the Chicago area's most troubled school districts. ANY ROAD WILL TAKE YOU THERE—a 2013 Book of the Year from the Chicago Writers Association—is the author's story of a cross-country road trip with his sons and the revelations of fatherhood. His novel, A WELL-RESPECTED MAN was a 2019 honoree in the fiction category of The Society of Midland Authors Awards.

Biography: David W. Berner is an award-winning author, broadcaster and journalist, whose career honors include the position of Writer-in-Residence at the Jack Kerouac Project in Orlando, Florida and the Ernest Hemingway Birthplace Home in Oak Park, Illinois. He has been honored and won awards from the prestigious Society of Midland Authors and the Chicago Writers Association.

  • A Well-Respected Man HONOREE - Adult Fiction, Society of Midland Authors, 2019Finalist, Literary/General Fiction, Independent Author Network, 2019
  • Any Road Will Take You There Book of the Year Award, Chicago Writers Association, 2013Grand Prize Finalist, Eric Hoffer Book Award, 2019
  • October Song WINNER, Grand Prize for Literature, Royal Dragonfly Book Awards, 2017 Book of the Year Finalist, American Book Fest, 2017
  • Accidental Lessons Royal Dragonfly Grand Prize for Literature, 2011
  • There's a Hamster in the Dashboard Best Books of Year, Chicago Book Review, 2015
  • The Islander Winner of the NYC Big Book Award for Novellas, Honoree at the Paris Book Festival, Finalist for the Hawthorne Prize

Primary Literary Genre(s): Non-Fiction

Primary Audience(s): Adult readers


Selected Titles

A Well-Respected Man
ISBN: 1948260018 OCLC: 1029888453

Is his character strong enough to confront what he discovers there, or will he run from his biggest challenge? Chicago Professor Martin Gregory is the author of a critically acclaimed novel of love and longing, a cult favorite among women. The book brings him unexpected status and prestige, but also unwelcome fame. A love affair with one of his students derails his career and breaks his heart. Coming to terms with a life knocked off balance, Martin retreats to a quiet English village, only to be confronted at his flat by a mystery woman with an unexpected message and an implausible request, one that could alter his life forever. A cross-country train trip, a visit to his father's grave, and a re-examination of a deep loss will eventually reveal either Martin's greatest character or unearth his most heartbreaking flaw. A Well-Respected Man is about the hard choices we make to find fulfillment, and the search to discover meaning in both the life we choose and the one thrust upon us.

Accidental lessons :
ISBN: 1606933914 OCLC: 423122406

Strategic Book Publishing, New York : ©2009.

Grand Prize for Literature, 2011 Royal Dragonfly Book Awards Accidental Lessons is a remarkable memoir by successful Chicago journalist David W. Berner. Berner takes the reader inside his own personal journey; a heart wrenching and inspirational account of self-discovery. Berner had it all - a very successful career as a broadcast journalist and a wonderful family life. But his career hits a bump and he finds himself out of work. Life then delivers more trouble - his father becomes terminally ill and his marriage falls apart. In the middle of painful personal times, this respected journalist makes a decision that changes his life forever. Berner takes a job in a public school outside Chicago where the students are representations of society's "throw-aways." What he learns from them teaches him invaluable lessons about himself, who he is, and why he became a journalist in the first place - to seek out the truth and give voice to those who need their story told.

After opium :
ISBN: 1469995530 OCLC: 812680094

Little Big Man Publishing, [United States?] : 2012.

In ten short stories, the author explores how we learn to carry on after kicking habits, shedding obsessions, or losing what we believe we can't live without.

Any road will take you there :
ISBN: 0988439093 OCLC: 895835069

In the best tradition of the great American memoir, "Any Road Will Take You There" is honest, unflinching, and tender. A middle-age father takes the reader on a five-thousand-mile road trip, the one he always wished he’d taken as a young man. Recently divorced and uncertain of the future, he rereads the iconic road story - Jack Kerouac’s "On the Road" - and along with his two sons and his best friend, heads for the highway to rekindle his spirit. However, a family secret turns the cross-country journey into an unexpected examination of his role as a father, and compels him to look to the past and the fathers who came before him to find contentment and clarity, and celebrate the struggles and triumphs of being a dad.

Night Radio: A Love Story
ISBN: 1096125617 OCLC:

From the award-winning author of A well-Respected Man, Accidental Lessons, and Any Road Will Take You There comes a truly American story of unwavering heart and soul. Jake Mulholland dreams of becoming the next great rock 'n' roll radio personality. But like his father, his appetite for love conflicts with his thirst for success, leading to an unforgivable mistake. Jake finds fame but also the excess of celebrity, and just as he begins to rediscover his authentic self, he's shaken by the news of a life-altering secret. In an effort for redemption, Jake plans a special New Year's Eve broadcast that will be the biggest challenge of his life. Night Radio is a love letter to music and rock 'n' roll radio of the 1970s, the story of an American boy and an American family, and of dreams just out of reach.

October song :
ISBN: 1785355562 OCLC: 986310221

In the vinyl era, David W. Berner played rock 'n' roll in a neighborhood garage band. Decades later at the age of 57 he enters a national songwriting contest and quite unexpectedly is named a finalist. He's called on to perform the song live at a storied venue for Americana music. Grabbing his old guitar and the love of his life, David hits the road, hoping to live out a musical fantasy he thought had been buried long ago. October Song is a powerful examination of the passage of time, love, the power of music, and the power of dreams.

Rainbow Man
ISBN: 0578379961 OCLC:

Writer Shed Press 2022

A popular serialized novel on Substack now is a paperback. RAINBOW MAN Is the story of grief and redemption, and the power to find a new life when what you had always known falls apart. Robert is hoping to reinvent his life after the death of his wife to a long, difficult illness. He takes on new challenges to find a way to live again, including a trip to the land where his favorite author, Ernest Hemingway spent large parts of his creative life—Spain. On his first day there, Robert meets a younger woman working in a cafe in the city of Granada. They unexpectedly become fast friends and soon find themselves taking in the charms of Spain together, each offering glimpses into their closely-held pasts. When the woman leads Robert on an extended road trip to see what are believed to be magical prehistoric carvings in the mountains of southern Spain, secrets are revealed and the woman asks Robert to help her with a dramatic and illegal act, one she believes is the only way she can face an inescapable future. What Robert decides will change both of their lives forever.

Sandman: A Golf Tale

Roundfire Books 2022

A young boy is in love with the game of golf, but he doesn't understand why. He has a natural talent and an enviable swing but playing the game well is not enough. There's something missing. When Jimmy, the homeless man who spends his days cheering on golfers from his usual sitting spot just off the 5th green at Old Elm Municipal Golf course goes missing, the young boy becomes curious. His quest uncovers Jimmy's mysterious link to the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland and reveals a life in golf that not only fascinates but sends the boy on a personal journey to discover the magic of an ancient game and its deeper meaning for a young man doing his best to find his path in the world.

The consequence of stars :
ISBN: 1950437442 OCLC: 1108873471

The Consequence of Stars is a memoir-in-essays--a mosaic of the experience of searching for one's place in the world. Writer David W. Berner recalls a solo and revealing cross-country train ride, a spiritual awakening in the Navajo Nation, performs music with Jack Kerouac groupies at the writer's former Florida home, and hunts for the ghost of Hemingway in the attic of the famous writer's birthplace home. He revisits his parent's lifelong love affair with their hometown and one another despite life-threatening odds and sets out to build a Thoreau-like writer's shed, hoping to discover an artistic space and an artist's home. In the book's newest essays, he explores how a new life resurrects the spirit, and how creative longing produces a spiritual awakening.

The Islander

Independently Published 2023

Seamus Damp is an aging American-born writer who retreats to a remote island off the coast of Ireland to escape to a monastic life. But his troubled past is always near, and his estranged relationship with his son is fraught with heartbreak. When a young woman who carries her own heartache-filled past comes to the island on a solitary spiritual and hiking adventure, she and Seamus discover an unusual bond and together attempt to find a way to heal their hearts and erase their collective sorrows. During a harrowing coastal storm, the young woman seeks refuge at Seamus' door. A night of conversation while the wild weather rages begins their journey toward a mutual understanding of their personal stories of betrayal, death, and emotional hopelessness. Eventually, the young woman helps Seamus through health emergencies, and emergencies of the heart -- old and new -- as she, too, attempts to discover her own way toward an emotional breakthrough on a beautiful yet rugged, wind-swept island where solitude is its greatest gift. The Islander is part of The Shortish Project, celebrating short novels at

There's a hamster in the dashboard :
ISBN: 0990840719 OCLC: 960889379

A book of essays by award-winning author and journalist David W. Berner is the next best thing to storytelling around a bonfire. In "There’s a Hamster in the Dashboard," Berner shares stories of “a life in pets”—from a collie that herds Berner home when the author goes “streaking” through the neighborhood as a two-year-old, to a father crying in front of his son for the only time in his life while burying the family dog on the Fourth of July. And from the ant farm that seems like a great learning experience (until the ants learn how to escape), to the hamster that sets out on its own road trip (but only gets as far as the dashboard). Along the way, Berner shows that pets not only connect us with the animal world, but also with each other and with ourselves. The result is a collection of essays that is insightful and humorous, entertaining and touching.

Things Behind the Sun
ISBN: 1951896777 OCLC:

Walks with Sam :
ISBN: 1789044987 OCLC: 1127884516

A sweet and beautiful story of a man, a dog, and the redemptive nature of a good walk from award-winning author David W. Berner. A man, his dog, and a long walk can lead to unexpected discoveries. In the tradition of many literary walkers, David W. Berner sets out on foot hoping to reexamine his life, look back and forward, and most importantly, through the help of his young dog, Sam, try to find harmony in new beginnings and the uncertainties of the present. In a series of chapters, each dedicated to one walk during a summer of hiking, the author finds that it is his beloved pet that allows him to awaken to a new spirit of mindfulness, finding beauty, wonder, and comfort in the ordinary, and to see a life, a neighborhood, and even a country with brand new eyes.