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Jeff VanderMeer is a 35-year-old two-time World Fantasy Award winner whose books of fiction and edited anthologies have been finalists for the Philip K. Dick Award and the International Horror Guild Award. Books by VanderMeer have made the year's best lists of Publishers Weekly, Amazon.com, LA Weekly, The San Francisco Chronicle, Locus Magazine, Publisher's News, and many more. He is best known for writing City of Saints & Madmen and Veniss Underground, and co-editing the Leviathan anthologies and The Thackery T. Lambshead Pocket Guide to Eccentric and Discredited Diseases.

Jeff and Ann VanderMeer in the Chelsea Hotel, visiting Hawk Alfredson and Mia Hanson. Photo by Mia Hanson.

His publishing house Ministry of Whimsy has been a World Fantasy Award finalist and a British Fantasy Award finalist, with the Ministry book The Troika by Stepan Chapman winning the Philip K. Dick Award in 1998. VanderMeer's nonfiction has appeared in Publishers Weekly, The Washington Post, and The NYR of SF. A definitive short story collection (Secret Life) and nonfiction collection (Why Should I Cut Your Throat?) will appear in 2004.

Personal Information
Jeff VanderMeer was born in Pennsylvania in 1968, but spent several years of his childhood in the Fiji Islands, where his parents worked for the Peace Corps. This experience, and the resulting trip back to the United States through Asia, Africa, and Europe, deeply influenced him.

As Jeff relates in an interview with Nick Gevers on SF Site: "I had a surreal childhood, growing up in the Fiji Islands, a tropical paradise, balanced by being asthmatic and with sometimes intense allergies and a dysfunctional family life. To my mind, beauty and horror or alienation were intertwined almost from the beginning. In Peru, once, in bed, on oxygen, very sick, I looked out of my Cuzco hotel window, set against a mountainside, and saw two hummingbirds mating on the wing. It's at moments like that that you begin to believe in visions. Ever since, I have looked for the surreal--sudden beauty, beauty in the service of liberty--whenever I can, because I believe these moments are the closest we can get to God or something spiritual. I don't believe in fantasy as fantasy at all, but as a kind of hidden reality pre-existing in our world."

His father (Robert K. VanderMeer) is an bio-chemist who currently works with/on fire ants; his mother (Penelope Miller) is an artist currently working on a PhD. in Nineteenth-Century French Figure Sculpture in Paris. His sister Elizabeth, who lives in Scotland, will soon receive her PhD. in environmental studies.

Jeff went to the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, for three years, where he pursued a degree in Journalism, then pursued a degree in English with a minor in Latin American History. He pursues them still. Jeff also attended Clarion East at Michigan State University in 1992, along with such fellow students as Dale Bailey, Felicity Savage, Nathan Ballingrud, and Cory Doctorow.

VanderMeer has taught creative writing via the nationally-distributed student magazine Merlin's Pen, as well as such conferences as The Florida Suncoast Writers' Festival and The Seven Hills Writers' Conference. In addition to serving on the editorial board of Fantastic Metropolis, he was a founding member of the University of Rhode Island's Council for Literature of the Fantastic. In 1998, he served as the chair of the Philip K. Dick Award judges.

Jeff currently lives in Tallahassee, Florida, with his wife Ann, who in her incarnation as "Ann Kennedy" serves as the publisher and editor of Buzzcity Press. Jeff works for the software company Infinity Software Development writing English passages for third through tenth graders for a Web site that provides practice versions of state standardized tests. He has a tremendously creative 19-year-old pseudo-daughter, Erin Drew Kennedy. One cat, Soshana (the Speckled Belly Monkey Cat), rounds out the household. He enjoys playing racquetball and wallyball (a bastard offspring of volleyball). A fine collection of Angela Carter, Edward Whittemore, and Frederic Prokosch first editions provide the grace notes of his extensive library.

Contact Information

He can be reached at vanderworld@hotmail.com or POB 4248, Tallahassee, FL 32303 USA.

artwork by scott eagle site by jt lindroos / oiva design