December 21, 1944 |
Helena, Arkansas, U.S.
James Sallis (born December 21, 1944) is an American crime writer, poet, critic, musicologist and musician, best known for his series of novels featuring the detective character Lew Griffin and set in New Orleans, and for his 2005 novel Drive, which was adapted into a 2011 film of the same name.
Sallis began writing science fiction for magazines in the late 1960s. Having sold several stories to Damon Knight for his Orbit series of anthologies, and a story to Michael Moorcock by the time he was in his mid-twenties, Sallis was then invited to go to London to help edit New Worlds just as it changed to its large format during its Michael Moorcock-directed New Wave SF phase; Sallis published his first sf story, "Kazoo" there in 1967 and was co-editor from April 1968 through Feb 1969. His clearly acknowledged models in the French avant-garde and the gnomic brevity of much of his work limited his appeal in the science fiction world, though he received some critical acclaim for A Few Last Words (collection, 1970).
Later short work (uncollected until Time's Hammers) appeared in the USA through the 1970s and 1980s.
He is the brother of philosopher John Sallis. His latest book is the 2012 novel Driven.
Sallis has been considered a Southern writer, as many of his works are set in New Orleans and the rural South of the United States, but his peripatetic nature has also colored his writing.
Born in Helena, Arkansas in 1944, Jim spent his childhood on the banks of the Mississippi River, along with his older brother John, now a philosopher and also an author. Jim attended Tulane University in New Orleans, where he first began to sell his writing and where he has lived during several periods of his life. He subsequently moved to Iowa and then to London, where he wrote much of his first book of prose and poetry, A Few Last Words. In London he edited the celebrated science fiction magazine New Worlds with his friend Michael Moorcock. Sallis has spent portions of his life as a resident of New York City, Boston, Paris, Pennsylvania and Texas. At present he lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with his wife, Karyn and their cat, Grace.
Sallis has worked as a creative writing teacher, respiratory therapist, musician, music teacher, screenwriter, periodical editor, book reviewer, and translator, winning acclaim for his 1993 version of Raymond Queneau's Saint Glinglin. Trained as a respiratory therapist, Sallis worked in intensive care for both adults and newborns at many hospitals. Currently he teaches writing classes at Phoenix College in Arizona; he has also taught at Otis College in Los Angeles.
Sallis plays several musical instruments, including the guitar, french horn, fiddle, Hawaiian guitar, mandolin, sitar, ukelele and dobro. He has also had an acting role in an independent film.
Sallis pens a regular book review column for The Magazine of Fantasy and Fantasy and Science Fiction.
A former Tulane Scholar and Fellow, Sallis donated his personal papers to the New Orleans university's special collections in 1999. He has been shortlisted for the Anthony, Nebula Award, Edgar Award, Shamus, and Gold Dagger awards.
- Lew Griffin series
- The Long-Legged Fly (New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, 1992. Harpenden: No Exit Press, 1996)
- Moth (New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, 1993. Harpenden: No Exit Press, 1996. New York: Walker & Co, 2003)
- Black Hornet (New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, 1994. Harpenden: No Exit Press, 1997. New York: Walker & Co, 2003)
- Eye of the Cricket (New York: Walker & Co, 1997 & 2000. Harpenden: No Exit Press, 1998)
- Bluebottle (New York: Walker & Co, 1999. Harpenden: No Exit Press, 1999)
- The Long-Legged Fly/Moth Omnibus Edition (Harpenden: No Exit Press, 2000)
- Ghost of a Flea (New York: Walker & Co, 2001 & 2000. Harpenden: No Exit Press, 2001)
- John Turner series
- Cypress Grove (New York: Walker & Co, 2003. Harpenden: No Exit Press, 2003)
- Cripple Creek (New York: Walker & Co, 2006)
- Salt River (New York: Walker & Co, 2007)
- The Driver series
- Drive (Scottsdale, AZ: Poisoned Pen Press, 2005)
- Driven (2012)
- Other novels
- Renderings (Seattle, Washington: Black Heron Press, 1995)
- Death Will Have Your Eyes (New York: St Martins Press, 1997. Harpenden: No Exit Press, 1997)
- The Killer Is Dying (New York: Walker & Co, 2011)
- Others of My Kind (Bloomsbury USA, 2013)
Short stories and poetry collections
- A Few Last Words (New York: Macmillan, 1970).
- Limits of the Sensible World (Austin, Texas: Host Publications, 1994).
- Time's Hammers: Collected Stories (Edgbaston, Birmingham: Toxic, 2000).
- Sorrow's Kitchen (East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 2000).
- A City Equal to My Desire (Point Blank Press, 2004).
- The James Sallis Reader (Rockville, MD: Wildside Press, 2005).
- Potato Tree (Host Publications, Inc., 2007).
- Rain's Eagerness (Hemet, CA: The Aldrich Press, 2013).
- Black Night's Gonna Catch Me Here: New & Selected Poems (Moorhead, MN: New Rivers Press, 2015).
Story anthologies as editor
- The War Book (London: Rupert Hart-Davis, 1969/Panther, 1971) - includes his short story "And then the dark..."
- The Shores Beneath (New York: Avon Books, 1973).
Selected periodicals written in
The Georgia Review, Prairie Schooner, Transatlantic Review, Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, Southwest Review, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, South Dakota Review, The Edge, Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, Pacific Review, Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, New Worlds, TransVersions, Confrontation, Pequod, America Poetry Review, Poetry East, Alaska Quarterly Review, Poetry Now, The Chariton Review, Western Humanities Review, International Poetry Review, and Negative Capability.
Criticism, essays, and biographies
- Difficult Lives: Jim Thompson – David Goodis – Chester Himes (New York: Gryphon Books, 1993; rev. ed., 2000).
- Ash of Stars: On the Writings of Samuel R. Delany (Jackson, Mississippi: University Press of Mississippi, 1996), edited by James Sallis.
- Gently into the Land of the Meateaters (Seattle, Washington: Black Heron Press, 2000).
- Chester Himes: A Life (Edinburgh: Payback Press, 2000. New York: Walker & Co, 2001).
- The Guitar Players: One Instrument and Its Masters in American Music (New York: William Morrow, 1982; Lincoln, Nebraska, and London: Bison Books/University of Nebraska Press, 1994, rev. ed.).
- Jazz Guitars: An Anthology (New York: William Morrow, 1984), edited by James Sallis.
- The Guitar in Jazz (Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press, 1996), edited by James Sallis.
- Saint Glinglin (Dalkey Archive Press, 1993; trade paperback 2000) by Raymond Queneau.
- My Tongue in Other Cheeks (Obscure Publications, 2003) — selected translations of poems from French, Spanish and Russian.
Sallis has published translations of the poetry of, among others, Raymond Queneau, Blaise Cendrars, Yves Bonnefoy, Andrei Voznesensky, Pablo Neruda, Francis Ponge, Jacques Dupin and Marcelin Pleynet. He has also translated work by Russian authors Mikhail Lermontov, Boris Pasternak and Aleksandr Pushkin, as well as Polish writer Marek Hlasko.