John-Ivan Palmer, son of a nightclub magician and Croatian actress, grew up in trailer parks and dressing rooms. He taught himself to read and write, forward and backward with either hand, 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, but did not graduate from any of them either.

On the West Coast, while carrying on his father’s profession, he published journalistic work in the San Francisco ChronicleSan Francisco ExaminerMilwaukee Journal and Oregon Journal. Literary magazines (The SmithDecember, NewsArt, Wisconsin Review, Other Voices) published his fiction. As with his schooling, he composed his writing in dressing rooms and hotel lobbies. It should be no surprise that his topics should be as different and diverse as his life. After receiving the Pushcart Prize for fiction, his  essays and literary criticism were widely published and anthologized in the US, Britain, Israel and Japan.

Given his background, the author’s work deals with unorthodox narratives, yet in a disciplined, belletristic style.  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.”

Also see feature article on writings and career in Continuum, a publication of the University of Minnesota (2023).