Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  James McManus  

Pen Name: None


Audience: Adult;

Born: 1951 in New York City, New York

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Illinois Connection

McManus lives in Kenilworth and teaches at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

James McManus is a New York Times bestselling author. He is a poker player, teacher, novelist and poet. His work has appeared in ''The New Yorker'', ''Harper’s,'' ''The Believer'', ''Paris Review'', ''Esquire'', and in Best American anthologies for poetry, sports writing, science and nature, and magazine writing. Both of McManus' degrees came from the University of Illinois Chicago - Bachelor of Arts in 1974 and Master of Arts in 1977. He currently teaches writing and comparative literature at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, including a course on the literature and science of poker.McManus was interviewed by Dan Klefstad, Morning Edition Host & Book Series Editor of Northern Public Radio (WNIU/WNIJ/NIRIS) for the [ #WNIJReadWithME] Winter Book Series. To access the December 28, 2015 interview, [ click here].

Published Works

  • Antonio Salazar is Dead, Syncline, 1979
  • Out of the Blue, Crown, 1984
  • Chin Music, Crown, 1985
  • Curtains, New & Selected Stories, Another Chicago Press, 1985
  • Ghost Waves, Grove Press, 1988
  • Great America, Poems, Harper Perennial, 1993
  • Going to the Sun, Harper Collins, 1996
  • Positively Fifth Street, Murders, Cheetahs and Binion`s World Series of Poker, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2004
  • Physical, Farrar, Straus and Giroux , 2005
  • Cowboys Full: The Story of Poker, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009
  • The Education of a Poker Player, BOA Editions Ltd. 2015

Selected Titles At Your Library

Antonio Salazar is dead /
ISBN: 0960379401. OCLC Number:

Syncline,. Chicago :. ©1979.

Out of the blue /
ISBN: 0517551446. OCLC Number:

Crown Publishers,. New York :. ©1984.

Curtains :
ISBN: 0961464402. OCLC Number:

Another Chicago Press,. Chicago, IL :. ©1985.

Going to the sun :
ISBN: 0312423292. OCLC Number:

Picador/Farrar, Straus and Giroux,. New York, N.Y. :. 2004, ©1996.

Physical :
ISBN: 0312426496. OCLC Number:

Picador,. New York :. 2007.

Cowboys full :
ISBN: 0374299242. OCLC Number:

Farrar, Straus, and Giroux,. New York :. ©2009.

From the Publisher: From James McManus, author of the bestselling Positively Fifth Street, comes the definitive story of the game that, more than any other, reflects who we are and how we operate. Cowboys Full is the story of poker, from its roots in China, the Middle East, and Europe to its ascent as a global-but especially an American-phenomenon. It describes how early Americans took a French parlor game and, with a few extra cards and an entrepreneurial spirit, turned it into a national craze by the time of the Civil War. From the kitchen-table games of ordinary citizens to its influence on generals and diplomats, poker has gone hand in hand with our national experience. Presidents from Abraham Lincoln to Barack Obama have deployed poker and its strategies to explain policy, to relax with friends, to negotiate treaties and crises, and as a political networking tool. The ways we all do battle and business are echoed by poker tactics: cheating and thwarting cheaters, leveraging uncertainty, bluffing and sussing out bluffers, managing risk and reward. Cowboys Full shows how what was once accurately called the cheater's game has become a mostly honest contest of cunning, mathematical precision, and luck. It explains how poker, formerly dominated by cardsharps, is now the most popular card game in Europe, East Asia, Australia, South America, and cyberspace, as well as on television. It combines colorful history with firsthand experience from today's professional tour. And it examines poker's remarkable hold on American culture, from paintings by Frederic Remington to countless poker novels, movies, and plays. Braiding the thrill of individual hands with new ways of seeing poker's relevance to our military, diplomatic, business, and personal affairs, Cowboys Full is sure to become the classic account of America's favorite pastime.

The education of a poker player :
ISBN: 1938160851. OCLC Number:

. .

Autobiographical stories by New York Times-bestselling author James McManus follow the transformational track of protagonist Vincent' s adolescence from priesthood to poker.


Going to the Sun

  • Sandburg Award
  • Society of Midland Authors Award, 1997
  • Positively Fifth Street

  • Society of Midland Authors Award, 2004
  • Cowboys Full

  • Society of Midland Authors Award, 2010
  • The Education of a Poker Player

  • Kirkus Prize for Fiction Nominee, 2015

    Other Awards

    Speaking Engagements

    Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)

    Contact Information Department of Liberal Arts Art Institute of Chicago 37 South Wabash Avenue Chicago, Illinois 60603-3002