A WRITER OF WEIRD AND GHOSTLY THINGS
SNAPSHOT: Connor Coyne does not believe that the avant-garde is behind us. It is necessarily with us and before us, telling stories of violent magnetism with a virulent rhythm and an insistent edge. His writing, praised as “an emotional and aesthetic tour de force” and “not for the faint of heart” straddles the line between the gothic/noir/horror genres and literary experimentation.
BACKGROUND: Connor earned his MFA from the New School and his BA from the University of Chicago. His graduate thesis adviser was Jeffery Renard Allen. He’s been writing for decades, and as early as 1997 he was a winner of the Young Playwrights, Inc. annual contest, for his play September. Since then his work has appeared in numerous publications. His fiction has been published in the Santa Clara Review, Moria Poetry Zine, the Dick Pig Review, the Flint Broadside, and the Saturnine Detractor, and his plays have been performed at the University of Chicago’s University Theater and, once upon a time, at Flint Youth Theatre. His debut novel, Hungry Rats, a teen-noir set in Michigan, was published in 2010 through the Gothic Funk Press.
Connor believes that the arts exist in connection with each other, and is a strong advocate of creative collaboration. In 2004, he cofounded Chicago’s Gothic Funk Nation which hosted two reading series, a variety of art installations, performance art, and other events. The Nation had its own arts journal, The Paramanu Pentaquark, of which Connor was the editor-in-chief, and the group lives on through the Tuesday Funk Reading Series, curated by authors Sara Ross and William Shunn. Connor has been a perennial judge for the University of Chicago Scavenger Hunt (and once participated in its successful effort to build a functional breeder reactor, as reported here by the New York Times), and has been a literary assistant to the Ojai Playwrights Conference, where he worked for director Abigail Deser and playwrights Lee Blessing and Susan Miller. Over the years, he has also collaborated with Elisabeth Blair, Richard Whaling, Nova Moturba, the bkish literary blog, the ChiTown Daily News, Forge 22, Front 312, and many others.
Today, after spending fourteen years in Chicago and New York City (and one heady summer in Romania), Connor has returned to his hometown of Flint, Michigan, with his wife Jessica and his daughter Mary. He lives in the East Village neighborhood, where he grew up, and is excited to resume participation in Flint’s thriving arts scene.
- Connor is the first person to cross the entirety of Antarctica wearing only sandals. (Not true: He did once walk over thirty miles along the city limits of Flint, Michigan.)
- Connor learned to levitate through the powers of sleep deprivation. (Not true: He did once stay awake for nearly seventy hours writing a paper about connections between the music of the Dayton Family and Slavic vampires.)
- Connor has been working on his magnum-opus, a sprawling 1000-page epic about math, the antichrist, and industrial decay in the U.S. for 12 years. (Not true: He has been working on a sprawling 1400-page epic about the same for 17 years.)