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Life and career
Grauerholz was born in Coffeyville, Kansas and attended the University of Kansas for a year before dropping out and traveling to New York City. By his own admission, he was fascinated with Beat Generation literature and authors.
Grauerholz became acquainted with Burroughs in the 1970s while befriending Allen Ginsberg in New York City. Ginsberg recommended Grauerholz to Burroughs as a possible assistant and their working relationship began in this simple manner, yet grew to be a major factor in the popularization of Burroughs and his works. Grauerholz became Burroughs's friend and business manager until the author's death in 1997.
Grauerholz helped edit a trilogy of novels: Cities of the Red Night (1981), The Place of Dead Roads (1985) and The Western Lands (1987). He acted as Burroughs's business manager, spearheading reading tours in the 1980s and 1990s, and wrote editorial copy for Interzone, a compilation of stories. He quit working for Burroughs and returned to Kansas in the early 1980s, and this quickly led Burroughs to relocate to the Midwestern university town of Lawrence, Kansas, to work more closely with Grauerholz again. Up until Burroughs' death in 1997, Grauerholz supported him, getting him reading engagements, commercial advertisements (Nike shoes), and parts in films (Drugstore Cowboy), as well as recording Burroughs' readings. He looked after Burroughs's physical needs as well, taking him to a methadone clinic in Kansas City weekly, as well as providing him with companionship and acting as a kind of social secretary to the many people that came to Kansas to meet Burroughs.
Grauerholz wrote biographical sketches to a Burroughs reader Word Virus, and edited a posthumous release of Burroughs diaries Last Words: The Final Journals of William S. Burroughs. Grauerholz worked on a full-length biography on Burroughs, but reportedly handed his writings and other material in the project to Barry Miles in March 2010. The book, "Call Me Burroughs: A Life", was published in 2014, with Miles as the sole author.
Works as editor or co-editor
- Burroughs, William, Cities of the Red Night, 1981
- Burroughs, William, The Place of Dead Roads, 1985
- Burroughs, William, The Western Lands, 1987
- Burroughs, William, My Education: A Book of Dreams, 1995
- Burroughs, William, Interzone, 1985
- Burroughs, William, Last Words: The Final Journals of William S. Burroughs., 2000.
- Grauerholz, James and Ira Silverberg. (2000) Word Virus: The William S. Burroughs Reader. Grove Press. (Editor and author of biographical sketches preceding each chapter).
- Grauerholz, James. The Death of Joan Vollmer Burroughs: What Really Happened?. American Studies Department, University of Kansas. Online.
- Douglas, Ann (February 21, 2014). "'Call Me Burroughs,' by Barry Miles". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 1, 2018.
- Miles, Barry (January 28, 2014). Call Me Burroughs: A Life (First ed.). New York, NY: Twelve. ISBN 9781455511952.
- "Literary review: William S Burroughs: A life by Barry Miles". The Independent. February 20, 2014. Retrieved January 1, 2018.
- Shooting Joan Burroughs at Beats in Kansas. William Burroughs and James Grauerholz, his editor, heir and adopted son, at Burroughs' Lawrence, KS home in 1997, the last year of Burroughs' life.
- Author Barry Miles recalls relationships with Beatles, Burroughs and Swinging London March 2010