Bill Hillmann

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Bill Hillmann American Author
Bill Hillmann in 2013

Bill Hillmann (born 1982) is an American author, storyteller, and journalist. He is a bull-runner and former boxer.

Early life and education[edit]

Hillmann was born in Chicago in 1982,[1] and grew up on the city's North Side. He attended St. Joseph High School.[2] He has a bachelor's degree from Elmhurst College and an MFA from Columbia College Chicago.[3]

Writing and storytelling[edit]

As an author, Hillmann is the author of the novel The Old Neighborhood (2014),[4][5][6][7] and the nonfiction book Mozos: A Decade Running with the Bulls (2015)[8][9] which was translated and published in Spain as Corriendo con Hemingway (2016).[1][10]

As a journalist, Hillmann has written for NPR as well as for publications including the Toronto Star, Playboy, Chicago Tribune, Salon, Daily Mail, Los Angeles Times, Stuff, and Washington Post.[11][12][13][3][14]

As a storyteller, Hillmann is the creator of the Windy City Story Slam.[15][16] He also created the National Story Slam, in which ten storytellers representing different storytelling series across the country performed at the main stage of the Chicago Tribune Printer's Row Lit Fest.[17][18][19] He has told stories at storytelling series in Philadelphia,[20] Portland,[21] San Francisco,[22] and Boston,[23] and won the Boulder Story Slam in Boulder, Colorado in 2014.[24] He has produced and performed in Story Slam events in London and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival,[25][26] has participated in Book Slam, London's literary nightclub,[27] and has told stories on NPR's The Story and Snap Judgment.[28][29]


Hillmann is a 2002 Chicago Golden Gloves boxing champion representing the Windy City Gym and a two time selection for the Chicago Golden Gloves International Traveling Team.[3][7][30] As a boxing journalist, Hillmann was the Chicago correspondent for Fightnews, and is the special boxing contributor for the Chicago Tribune RedEye.[31][32]


Hillmann is an experienced participant in running of the bulls, and has been described as "the best young bull runner from the United States".[33] He has given expert commentary on the running of the bulls for CNN,[34] The Today Show,[35] CBS This Morning,[36] BBC World Service,[37] and Esquire Network.[38] His audio essay "Running with the Bulls in Pamplona" for WBEZ Chicago Public Radio won an Edward R. Murrow Award from the Radio Television Digital News Association in 2010.[39]

He was inspired to join the tradition by Ernest Hemingway's book The Sun Also Rises,[40][41] and has taken part in the bull runs in Pamplona since 2005.[41][42][43] In 2011 and 2012 he wrote how-to guides on the running of the bulls for Outside magazine.[43][44] By 2013 he had acquired the nickname "Buffalo Bill Hillmann", and in 2014 he co-authored the book Fiesta: How to Survive the Bulls of Pamplona with Alexander Fiske-Harrison and John Hemingway.[45][46]

On July 9, 2014, a bull gored Hillmann twice in the thigh at the festival of San Fermín in Pamplona,[45][46][47] but he returned to bull-running in Pamplona in 2015,[41] and published his memoir, Mozos: A Decade Running with the Bulls.[8] In the summer of 2016 he ran with the bulls more than 200 times in towns throughout Spain.[48][49] He has stated that his favorite running of the bulls is the oldest, in Cuéllar, a small town about two hours north of Madrid, where hundreds of horsemen guide the bulls 3 miles (5 km) to the town and into the run.[41][42][50]

On July 8, 2017, he was gored by one of the bulls from José Escolar in Pamplona.[51]


  • The Old Neighborhood: A Novel. Chicago, Illinois: Curbside Splendor Publishing. 2014. ISBN 978-1-9404-3000-3.
  • Mozos: A Decade Running with the Bulls of Spain. Chicago, Illinois: Curbside Splendor Publishing. 2015. ISBN 978-1-9404-3053-9.
  • Corriendo con Hemingway: Un Mozo Americano en los San Fermines (in Spanish). Barcelona: Ediciones Península, Planeta Group. 2016. ISBN 978-8-4994-2521-4; translation of Mozos: A Decade Running with the Bulls of Spain


  1. ^ a b Seoane, Andrés (6 July 2016). "Bill Hillmann: 'Para correr un encierro hay que estar dispuesto a morir'". El Cultural (in Spanish). Retrieved 21 November 2016.
  2. ^ Greenfield, John. "Back to school with Bill Hillmann, class of '99 | Feature". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 2016-12-28.
  3. ^ a b c "Bill Hillmann Will Serve as Final Judge for the 2016 Nick Adams Short Story Contest". Associated Colleges of the Midwest. 22 November 2015. Retrieved 21 November 2016.
  4. ^ Samarov, Dmitry (11 April 2014). "Review: 'The Old Neighborhood' by Bill Hillmann". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 21 November 2016.
  5. ^ *"Fiction Review: 'The Old Neighborhood' by Bill Hillmann". Newcity Lit. 28 April 2014. Retrieved 1 November 2016.
  6. ^ Hoffert, Barbara (3 June 2014). "Top Indie Fiction: 30 Key Titles Beyond the Best-Sellers List for Spring/Summer 2014". Library Journal.
  7. ^ a b Ludwig, Jerome. "Best of Chicago 2014 – Best New Book by a Former Chicago Golden Gloves Champ: The Old Neighborhood by Bill Hillmann". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 1 November 2016.
  8. ^ a b Keilman, John (7 July 2015). "Two New Books Tackle The Running of the Bulls". Chicago Tribune.
  9. ^ "Nonfiction Book Review: Mozos: A Decade Running with the Bulls of Spain by Bill Hillman". Publishers Weekly. July 2015. Retrieved 21 November 2016.
  10. ^ Abella, Carlos (9 October 2016). "Bill Hillmann: Corriendo con Hemingway. Un mozo americano en los sanfermines". El Imparcial (in Spanish). Retrieved 1 November 2016.
  11. ^ "Why I would run with the bulls again". Retrieved 2016-12-28.
  12. ^ "Bill Hillman". 2012-12-14. Retrieved 2016-12-28.
  13. ^ "At the Fights with Author Irvine Welsh – Playboy". 22 May 2014. Retrieved 28 December 2016.
  14. ^ "Gored author of bull-running book will return to Pamplona". Los Angeles Times. 2014-07-21. Retrieved 2016-12-28.
  15. ^ Hageman, William (25 February 2010). "The Story Slam plot thickens during finals: 5 local storytellers will step". The Chicago Tribune.
  16. ^ Clark, Alex (30 July 2010). "The new wave of literary events". The Guardian.
  17. ^ "June 2010 – James Finn Garner". Retrieved 2016-12-28.
  18. ^ "Windy City Story Slam @ Empty Bottle". 2010-06-03. Retrieved 2016-12-28.
  19. ^ "Why read a book? : Graduate's experiences answer that question" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-12-28.
  20. ^ "First Person Arts StorySlam: Mortified-Bill Hillman (Chicago)". YouTube. 2014-06-14. Retrieved 2016-12-28.
  21. ^ Back Fence PDX: RUSSIAN ROULETTE (9 July 2014). "Bill Hillman at Back Fence PDX: RUSSIAN ROULETTE 6/14/2014". Retrieved 28 December 2016 – via YouTube.
  22. ^ "Interview: Kevin Whiteley, Founder of Criminal Class Press - SF Station - San Francisco's City Guide". SF Station. 2011-11-28. Retrieved 2016-12-28.
  23. ^ "1st Person Plural - May 2014 –". Retrieved 28 December 2016.
  24. ^ "June 2014 photos". Retrieved 28 December 2016.
  25. ^ Clark, Alex (30 July 2010). "The new wave of literary events". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 December 2016 – via The Guardian.
  26. ^ "Alexander Fiske-Harrison enjoys a 'story slam' at the Edinburgh Fringe". The Spectator. 25 August 2012. Retrieved 28 December 2016.
  27. ^ "Alumni". Book Slam. Retrieved 2016-12-28.
  28. ^ "The If Question". The Story. 2010-07-07. Retrieved 2016-12-28.
  29. ^ "Running With The Bulls". Snap Judgment. Retrieved 2016-12-28.
  30. ^ Hageman, William (12 August 2011). "Remarkable Person: Bill Hillmann". Chicago Tribune.
  31. ^ "Chicago boxer Semajay Thomas a long way from murder charge". Retrieved 2016-12-28.
  32. ^ "#1 source for boxing news on the web". 2012-04-17. Retrieved 2016-12-28.
  33. ^ Frayer, Lauren (9 July 2014). "'Buffalo' Bill Hillmann, author of bull-run guide, gored at Pamplona". Los Angeles Times. Bill Hillmann is considered the best young bull runner from the United States
  34. ^ Goodman, Al (2014-09-07). "Gored expert to run with bulls again -". Retrieved 2016-12-28.
  35. ^ "American man, 20, gored by bull in Spain". 2015-02-17. Retrieved 2016-12-28.
  36. ^ "American Benjamin Miller gored at festival in Spain". CBS News. 2015-02-16. Retrieved 2016-12-28.
  37. ^ 02:06 GMT (2014-08-14). "BBC World Service - Outlook, An Unlikely Friendship Across Apartheid". Retrieved 2016-12-28.
  38. ^ "Running of the Bulls 2015: Gored Runner Bill Hillmann Returns | Esquire Network". 2015-10-07. Retrieved 2016-12-28.
  39. ^ "RTDNA". RTDNA. 2009-08-19. Retrieved 2016-12-28.
  40. ^ Clayfield, Matthew (2013-04-12). "Beyond the bull in Pamplona". The Australian. Retrieved 2016-11-22.
  41. ^ a b c d Khazan, Olga (2015-07-10). "What It's Like to Be Gored at the Running of the Bulls ... and go back to run the next year". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2016-11-22.
  42. ^ a b Hillmann, Bill (18 July 2014). "I got gored in Pamplona. But I will run with the bulls again". Opinion. Washington Post. Retrieved 22 November 2016.
  43. ^ a b Hillmann, Bill (2011-06-23). "How to Survive the Running of the Bulls". Outside Online. Retrieved 2016-11-01.
  44. ^ Hillmann, Bill (2012-06-25). "How to Run With the Bulls". Outside Online. Retrieved 2016-12-28.
  45. ^ a b Kassam, Ashifa (9 July 2014). "Author of bullrunning survival guide gored at Pamplona festival". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 November 2016.
  46. ^ a b Minder, Raphael (9 July 2014). "Co-Author of Bull-Running Guide Is Gored in Pamplona". The New York Times.
  47. ^
  48. ^ Hillmann, Bill (2016-09-29). "Chicago man locks horns with bull in Spain to rescue friend". RedEye. Retrieved 2016-11-22.
  49. ^ Gutiérrez, Natxo (September 29, 2016). "El hombre de los 200 encierros". Diario de Navarra (in Spanish). Retrieved November 25, 2016 – via
  50. ^ Fiske-Harrison, Alexander (31 May 2013). "Spain: 'The real old stuff'". Financial Times.
  51. ^ Wilson, Joseph (8 July 2017). "American gored at Pamplona bull run promises to run again". ABC News. Associated Press. Retrieved 9 July 2017.

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