Biography of Daniel Quinn

Daniel Quinn is an American writer known for works which question the human relationship to the environment. His most famous book is Ishmael.

Quinn was born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1935. He graduated from Creighton Preparatory School in 1953, and then studied at Saint Louis University, the University of Vienna, and Loyola University, where he received a bachelor's degree in English, cum laude, in 1957.

For the first twenty years of his career, he worked in educational and consumer publishing in Chicago. During this time, he served as: Biography and Fine Arts editor at the American Peoples Encyclopedia; managing editor of the Greater Cleveland Mathematics Program (Science Research Associates); head of the mathematics department at Encyclopedia Britannica Educational Corporation; Executive Editor of Fuller & Dees Publishing (a division of the Times Mirror Corporation); and Editorial Director of the Society for Visual Education (a division of the Singer Corporation).

In 1975, Quinn quit his long career as a publisher to become a freelance writer. His second and most famous book, Ishmael, was published in 1992, and won the Turner Tomorrow Fellowship Award, which was established to encourage authors to seek "creative and positive solutions to global problems." Ishmael has remained in print continuously since then, and has been translated into more than 25 different languages. It is the first of a loose trilogy, which also includes the books The Story of B and My Ishmael.

Ishmael and its sequels brought Quinn ever-increasing fame throughout the 1990s, as he became a very well known author to certain segments of: the environmental movement; the simplicity movement; the anarchist movement; and the Anarcho-primitivism movements.

Quinn has also been involved in organizations that investigate world issues. From 1969 to 1971, he ran the Stateville Penitentiary Writers' Workshop, which gave convicts guidance and encouragement to write. In 1992, he served on the Board of Listeners of the World Uranium Hearing in Salzburg, Austria, a hearing convened to hear testimony from victims of uranium mining, nuclear waste disposal, and nuclear power disasters around the world.

Quinn has traveled widely to lecture and discuss his books. He has addressed students and faculty at universities throughout the country, as well as at community colleges and high schools. He has been a keynote speaker for conferences and meetings for groups such as The Minnesota Social Investment Forum, St. Martin's College World Population Forum, Systems Thinking in Action, Vision 2000, Iowa State University's Institute on World Affairs, the North American Association for Environmental Education, the Foundation for Contemporary Theology, and EnvironDesign3.

Some of Quinn's ideas have generated controversy amongst critics, much of whom Quinn has publicly addressed.

He currently lives with his family in Houston, Texas.

Study Guides on Works by Daniel Quinn

First published in 1992, Daniel Quinn's Ishmael has remained in print since its publication and has been translated into over 25 languages. Mostly a Socratic dialogue exploring the the world's impending disaster and the human responsibility...