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.
and Ann VanderMeer in the Chelsea Hotel, visiting Hawk
Alfredson and Mia Hanson. Photo by Mia Hanson.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
or POB 4248, Tallahassee, FL 32303 USA.