Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  John Fink  

Pen Name: None


Born: 1926 in Farmington, Illinois

Died: 1995

-- John Fink on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Fink was born in Farmington, Illinois. He attended the Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois and earned his MA at the University of Illinois in Urbana/Champaign. After college, he and his wife moved to Winnetka, Illinois.

Biographical and Professional Information

Fink attended college at Millikin University and later earned an M.A. from the University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign. He was a reporter at the Tribune from 1953 to 1974. In 1962, he edited the institutional history of Tribune affiliate WGN. After 1974, he left daily journalism and began a career in book editing and publishing with the ''Chicago Tribune Magazine''. In the early 1990s his talent for fiction writing burst to the surface, and he wrote two mysteries. Fink has taught writing classes at Columbia College and Northwestern University, and still lived in Chicago until his death in 1995.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

The Leaf Boats
ISBN: 0312049773

St Martins Pr. 1991

One of Dutch Gillespie's eight children is found raped and murdered much the same way her mother had been years before, in a story of a family's secrets and its disintegration

Libel the Dead
ISBN: 0373280173

Pocket Books. 1994

Mass Market Paperback

Painted Leaves
ISBN: 0312131372

St Martins Pr. 1995

When John Fink's first book about the Gillespies, The Leaf Boats, appeared, readers discovered that the author had created a family of such richness and depth that they wanted to know more of this Irish-American clan. This second book about the Chicago tribe focuses on television reporter Jimmy.
Jimmy has learned to live with grief after three members of his family died unnaturally. But you're never completely inured to tragedy, even when it doesn't hit directly, and the suicide (or murder?) of his coworker and former college classmate, Marlee Roberts, hits him hard.
It's a relief for him to attend a gathering of the Gillespies for an unaccustomedly happy occasion: the wedding of Jimmy's niece in Wilkes-Barre, in the coal country of eastern Pennsylvania. The last time he had been there to visit, he was instrumental in getting a local girl a job at his station. That local girl is now eagerly-and competently-stepping into the shoes of the murdered Marlee.
On an aimless walk through the streets of the town, Jimmy sees a painted leaf in the shop window of a small store. It evokes his childhood, his tragedies, and his happiness. He goes in to buy it and meets the artist: a woman who could have been important to him under other circumstances. And it is, oddly, in this drab Pennsylvania city that Jimmy is led to the secret of Marlee's death and others that followed.