Paul McComas is the author of four critically acclaimed bookstwo novels, Planet of the Dates (currently in development as a Hollywood feature) and Unplugged, and the short-story collections Unforgettable: Harrowing Futures, Horrors, and (Dark) Humor and Twenty Questions (now in its third printing)as well as the editor of two anthologies, First Person Imperfect and Further Persons Imperfect. He recently co-authored the novel Logan's Journey (slated for 2012 publication) with William F. Nolan, bestselling author of the science-fiction classic Logan's Run, and is currently editing an anthology of "place-based fiction" called Proving Grounds.
His short narrative films and videos have garnered international, national, and regional prizes, been screened at festivals worldwide, and been shown on network, public, and cable TV.
Since 1987, Paultwo-time recipient of the Chicago Reader's Critic's Choicehas performed his own work at ninety theaters and other venues nationwide, as well as on National Public Radio's "Tavis Smiley Show" and on numerous NPR affiliates. The Chicago Tribune calls his performance style "urgent and mesmerizing," and the Chicago Sun-Times says, "No one is doing in-store readings as lively."
Since 1998, Paul has taught writing, literature, and film at numerous sites and at multiple levels, from adult-ed to Master's programs, winning teaching awards from Northwestern and National-Louis universities. He has been a Visiting Artist at twenty universities, academies, and arts-centered high schools, and he lectures about literature and writing nationwide, in part through Chicago's News & Views speakers' bureau.
Paul founded the teen-suicide-prevention program Rock Against Depression (1995-2000) and received the Mental Health Association's Distinguished Service Award. He is also a Leadership Circle inductee of the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN). Paul's anthologies, charity concerts, Dayna Clay CD, "No-Budget Theatre" DVD, and Amateur two-CD set have raised $10,500 to date for RAINN, mental-health outreach, wilderness preservation, at-risk youth, and blood services (he recently donated his one-hundredth pint).
Paul has received grants from the Illinois Arts Council, the Evanston Arts Council, Northwestern University, and Notre Dame University.
Born and raised in Milwaukee, Paul received a BA in English from Lawrence University and an MA in Film from Northwestern. He and wife Heather McComas, a fellow fiction writer, live in Evanston, IL, with their newly adopted rescue greyhound, Sam.
Hear Paul read Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. with the rest of our crew at Hopleaf's upstairs bar!