John McNally
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Whats New

John at Six Weeks 1/66
John at eight weeks old. 1/66.

From time to time, you may wake up from a dead sleep and wonder, "What's new with John?" That's what this page is meant to tell you.

Of course, John may not update it as often as you'd like. Or he may update it more often than you'd like. It's hard to tell what will happen.

Whatever the case may be, new things are always happening to John. When those things happen, John will ponder them at length, make lists, jot down notes, and distill all the new things into two categories: 1) new things worth mentioning, 2) new things not worth mentioning. In the end, what you'll find below is a list of all new things worth mentioning. Enjoy!

(Warning: You'll occasionally find one or two things that were not worth mentioning. Please ignore them.)


2014: The Year in Review

It was a good year for writing. I signed contracts for four new books, which will be published over the next three years.

Lord of the Ralphs, a young adult novel (based on The Book of Ralph), will be published by Lacewing Books in the fall of 2015.

The Boy Who Really, Really Wanted to Have Sex, a collection of personal essays about growing up in the Chicago suburb of Burbank, will be published by Curbside Splendor in either the fall of 2016 or 2017.

A new novel, as yet untitled, will be published by Curbside Splendor in either the fall of 2016 or 2017. More on this book later.

Successful Failure: On Writing and the Freedom of Disappointment, a nonfiction book that looks at the many connections between creativity and failure (and, ultimately, success), will be published by the University of Iowa Press in either 2016 or 2017.

I also published two new short stories:

"The Blueprint of Your Brain" in One Teen Story.
"The Magician" in The Sun.

I published a short essay about a writing process quirk of mine called "The Note-Texter" in Booth.

Forthcoming in 2015:

"The Genius and I," a personal essay, will appear in the next issue of Booth.

"The Creeping End," a short story, will appear in the next issue of Beloit Fiction Journal.

I'm sure I'll be promoting Lord of the Ralphs in and around Chicago in the fall, so I hope to see some old and new friends when I'm up there.

In addition to the above forthcoming projects, I have several others in the works. I hope to be able to report back in 2015 with promising news.

Happy New Year!


It's been, what, three years since I've updated the "What's New?" page? Three years!? Okay, so I've had a busy three years, personally and professionally, but I'll stick to the professional here with a few recent high points:

For starters, I've left Wake Forest University, where I taught for eleven years, and am now Writer-in-Residence at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where I'll be teaching in their graduate program. I am, to put it mildly, very excited by this move.

I am also honored to be on the core faculty of Pacific University's low-residency MFA program -- the best damned low-residency in the country.

My new book, Vivid and Continuous: Essays and Exercises for Writing Fiction, which has been adopted as a textbook for several undergraduate fiction workshops across the country, came out earlier this year from the University of Iowa Press.

A screenplay that I co-wrote with fiction writer and partner-in-crime Owen King is in development as a feature film with Anonymous Content. I hope to have more news to share about this project soon.

If you want to read a short, personal essay of mine, check out this piece in The Common. I plan on writing many more essays in the near future.

And, finally (for the time-being), I'm proud to have a short story in the award-winning anthology, Shadow Show: All-New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury, alongside, oh, let's see...Margaret Atwood, Kelly Link, Joe Hill, Harlan Ellison, Dave Eggers, and a whole bunch more. There was also a special, limited edition of the book, signed by all but one writer. (That's right, Writer Who Did Not Sign the Book...I'm looking at you!)

Meanwhile, I'm pushing ahead on several new projects. And I solemnly swear to keep this page better updated. I do.