James Finn Garner was born in Detroit and grew up in the company town of Dearborn, Michigan. After graduating from the University of Michigan (where he won a Hopwood Award for one of his short plays), he moved to Chicago and worked in a number of jobs, including house painter, baker, warehouse clerk, public relations whipping boy, and editor of real estate appraisal publications. Seeking a creative outlet, he began to take improvisational comedy classes and terrorized various Chicago nightclubs for many years.
His most infamous project–the performance art comedy troupe JazzPoetry…TRUTH!–was labeled “out-and-out painful in its sheer stupidity” by the Chicago Tribune and “one of the funniest things I have ever seen” by one of the founders of The Second City. His other stage creations include “The Waveland Radio Playhouse,” “McCracken After Dark,” and “Theatre of the Bizarre.” One of the pieces from “Theatre of the Bizarre” later evolved into Politically Correct Bedtime Stories.
Politically Correct Bedtime Stories, Garner’s first book, has sold more than 2.5 million copies in the U.S. and has been translated into 20 languages. It spent 65 weeks on the New York Times Best Sellers list. The runaway success of this book spawned two others, Once Upon A More Enlightened Time and Politically Correct Holiday Stories, both of which also appeared on the N.Y. Times list for extended runs. Other Politically Correct projects included calendars, computer games, and TV pilots, as well as numerous stage productions.
His other books include Apocalypse WOW!: A Memoir for the End of Time; Recut Madness; and Tea Party Fairy Tales, a Kindle Single Exclusive which aims to remind “StorybookLand” of the values that made it the greatest country in the history of the world. His latest project is the clown noir mystery series starring “Rex Koko, Private Clown”. The titles so far in this series are Honk Honk, My Darling (Book of the Year, Non-Traditional Fiction, Chicago Writers Association, 2011); Double Indignity; and The Wet Nose of Danger (Book of the Year, CWA, 2014).
Garner’s last masthead credit was as a contributing editor with Chicago Magazine, for which he wrote the monthly column “The Garner Report.” His fiction and satire have also appeared in Playboy, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, TV Guide, The Chicago Tribune Magazine, Utne Reader, and other publications. His commentaries have been broadcast on National Public Radio and his stories on the British Broadcasting Corporation.
An accomplished public speaker, Garner has addressed college audiences, business functions, writer’s conferences, charity fetes and awards dinners from coast to coast.
He currently lives in Chicago with his wife and two grown children.