Author Bio

John-Ivan Palmer, the son of a nightclub magician and Croatian actress,  grew up in trailer parks and dressing rooms. He taught himself to read and write in the back seat of the car en route to his parents’ many engagements. Although he technically never graduated from the first grade he later attended three universities.

His earliest journalism appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Examiner, Milwaukee Journal, Wisconsin Review and Oregon Journal. Other literary magazines (The Smith, December, NewsArt) published his fiction as he carried on his father’s profession. As with his schooling, he composed his work in dressing rooms and hotel lobbies. After receiving the Pushcart Prize for fiction his work was anthologized in the US, Britain and Japan.

Given his background, the author’s work deals with unorthodox narratives in a disciplined, belletristic style that makes them universally accessible. Tom Bradley’s irreverent interview with Palmer in Exquisite Corpse, A Journal of Art and Life ( describes the author as an “odd and versatile figure in the literary world, whose fiction, poetry, essays, interviews, and literary criticism [are] often perceived as scholarly performances in the Devil’s Theater.” His more recent work explores fiction, poetry and narrative non-fiction in altogether new dimensions of literary refinement.

Recently published:

“Magnetic Reality: Setting the Stage of Mass Murder in School,” Vector Magazine, 2017 ( Included is the author’s appearance at Red Lake Indian Reservation High School where he briefly met Jeff Weise, who later murdered nine people at the same school.

“The Forgotten One” is a memoir of the author’s millionaire grandfather who disappeared for many years and how he was found. It appears in the summer 2017 issue of the Israeli journal Ilanot Review ( This article was nominated for the Best on the Net Award for 2017.

“The Real Live Scandinavian Folk Dancer: Teddy Qualls, Lost Freak From the Heart of Darkness,” describes the life of a forgotten African American tap dancer “who could suck the air out of a whole town” but knew “he’d better be gone by morning.” It’s featured in the winter issue of Whistling Shade (

“Kissing in Church” is a short story in the spring issue of Literary Nest ( An ex-nun and a hack writer share their chaste divinities in empty churches.

“Dragged Around by the Great Maurice,” is a study in X-rated stage hypnotism that appears in Hypnopomp Literary Journal, issue 4, 2018 (

Dining With the Breatharians” is an expose of those who profit by convincing others they can thrive on a diet consisting solely of air. This illustrated article is in Whistling Shade, spring, 2018 (

“The Reptilian,” is a work of fiction included in the British anthology The Whisper Place published by, 2018. Available in print only at

Two poems “Massage Parlor Honeymoon” and “Face Focus Burn Hole” were written during the author’s period as a night club hypnotist, and appear in Issue 9 of Modern Poetry Quarterly Review (

Rare Bird Books will release his memoir, Master of Deception, Magic as Damaged Destiny, this August.