Daniel Quinn (1935-2018) grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, where he graduated from Creighton Prep in 1953. He studied at St. Louis University, the University of Vienna, and Loyola University of Chicago, receiving a bachelor’s degree in English, cum laude, in 1957.
During a twenty-year career in educational and consumer publishing in Chicago, he served as Biography and Fine Arts editor at the American Peoples Encyclopedia, managing editor of the Greater Cleveland Mathematics Program (Science Research Associates), head of the mathematics department at Encyclopedia Britannica Educational Corporation, Executive Editor of Fuller & Dees Publishing (a division of the Times Mirror Corporation) and Editorial Director of the Society for Visual Education (a division of the Singer Corporation).
Mr. Quinn is best known as the author of Ishmael, the novel that in 1991 won the Turner Tomorrow Fellowship, established to encourage authors to seek “creative and positive solutions to global problems.” Ishmael has been in print continuously since its publication in 1992 and has been made available in more than 25 languages. Throughout the U.S. and Canada and in other countries as well, Ishmael is used as a text in a broad range of classes that include anthropology, ecology, history, literature, philosophy, ethics, biology, and psychology, at age levels from middle school through graduate level.
He followed Ishmael with an autobiography, Providence (1994), The Story Of B (1996), a novel that continues the philosophical and religious exploration begun in Ishmael; and My Ishmael: A Sequel (1997), in which it’s learned that, unbeknownst to the narrator of Ishmael, Ishmael was working with another pupil, a twelve-year-old girl.
Other works include Beyond Civilization (1999), a nonfiction work that explores, among other relevant topics, tribal ways of making a living that work here and now; After Dachau (2001), a novel that critics have compared to Fahrenheit 451, Brave New World, and 1984; The Man Who Grew Young, a graphic novel that tells the unique and fascinating story of a man who lives backward through time and history; The Holy (2002), a metaphysical thriller that has been compared to John Fowles’ The Magus (and which won the 2003 Independent Publisher Award for Mystery/Suspense/Thriller of the Year); Tales of Adam (2005), written as part of an early version of the book that ultimately became Ishmael, illustrated by Michael McCurdy; Work, Work, Work, (2006), a children’s book with Quinn’s own illustrations; and If They Give You Lined Paper, Write Sideways, in which the author investigates the source of his own ideas (which so many readers have found mysteriously alien). His short fiction has appeared in The Quarterly, Asylum, Magic Realism, and elsewhere.
This short fiction was collected in a volume called At Woomeroo: Stories (2012); another collection, The Invisibility of Success (2014) brought together two new essays, along with speeches delivered over the years; The Book of the Damned, a short, somewhat poetic version of what Mr. Quinn was working on for so many years was published in three different editions (1982, 2001, 2014); Dreamer, a novel of psychological horror, the author’s first, was originally published by TOR (1988) and republished in 2013; The Teachings That Came Before and After Ishmael (2014) encapsulated the works that are intrinsically related to Ishmael and was his last published work.
He instituted the Stateville Penitentiary Writers’ Workshop (1969-71) and served on the Board of Listeners of the World Uranium Hearing, Salzburg, Austria, convened in 1992 to hear testimony of victims of uranium mining, nuclear waste disposal, and nuclear power disasters around the world.
Daniel has addressed students and faculty at the University of Massachusetts, the University of Texas, Trinity University, Portland State University, Salisbury State University, Elon College, Baylor University, Texas A&M, the University of Georgia, Roger Williams University, Kent State University, Rice University, the University of Oregon, St. Louis University, and other colleges, community colleges, and high schools.
He has been a keynote speaker for conferences and meetings for groups such as The Minnesota Social Investment Forum, St. Martin’s College World Population Forum, Systems Thinking in Action, Vision 2000, Iowa State University’s Institute on World Affairs, the North American Association for Environmental Education, The Foundation for Contemporary Theology, and EnvironDesign3.