Illinois Authors

The Illinois Center for the Book banner

Pat Byrnes

Pen Name: None

Connection to Illinois: Byrnes lives in Chicago.

Biography: Pat Byrnes is a Detroit native. He earned his Aerospace degree at the University of Notre Dame. He joined General Dynamics–Convair as the first pre-design engineer they had ever taken directly out of undergrad. Despite this privilege, he knew his calling was elsewhere. For a time, he honed his creative skills writing ad copy for big agencies like W. B. Doner in Detroit and J. Walter Thompson in Chicago. He scripted ads for everything from cheese to menstrual relief products, and won buckets of awards, from the Addy to the Clio. During this time, he moonlighted with experimental comedy acts, to much critical acclaim in Chicago’s night club scene. He left writing ads for reading them as a voiceover actor. Between auditions, he finally found time to answer his calling: Cartooning. Since 1998, Pat has been a regular contributor to The New Yorker. Before dad duties slashed his working hours, he was also a staple in Reader’s Digest, Wall Street Journal and America Magazine. For three years, he created the syndicated comic strip, “Monkeyhouse.” He has won the National Cartoonists Society Award for advertising illustration, and awards for his sonnets. He also writes musicals. And he used to paint when he had the time. His gag cartoons appeared for the first time in book form in What Would Satan Do? and again in Because I’m the Child Here and I Said So. His most recent book is Eats Shoots & Leaves—Illustrated Edition by Lynne Truss (Gotham 2008) of which he is the illustrator. More recently, he is the inventor of the Smurks; initially intended to be an iPhone app to help friends share their feelings better on their handheld devices, Smurks is now being embraced as a powerful new tool to help people with autism connect with their emotions and to help neuroscientists study the brain’s responses to nonverbal facial expressions. Pat is married to Lisa Madigan, who was the Attorney General of the State of Illinois.

  • National Cartoonists Society Advertising and Illustration Award, 2001

Primary Literary Genre(s): Fiction; Illustrator

Primary Audience(s): Adult readers


Selected Titles

Because I'm the child here and I said so :
ISBN: 0740757385 OCLC: 793519351

Andrews McMeel Pub., Kansas City [Mo.] : ©2006.

Parenting is a competitive sport these days. With all the pressure on the modern parent, a little comic relief is not just welcome; it's a matter of survival. Because I'm the Child Here and I Said So offers a much-needed hilarious first-aid kit for parents of all types. Between the fat stacks of parenting books designed to engender paranoia and hyper-competitiveness, and the culture that demands everyone must have it all, today's parents don't stand a chance. Because I'm the Child Here and I Said So by cartoonist Pat Byrnes is a gleeful send-up of modern parenting: the obsession, the sport, the pseudo science, and all the maddening challenges parenting presents. Each full-color cartoon features a smart punch line that will make you smile (or wince in recognition):* A birthday party? Didn't we already do that kind of crap with your older sister?* I couldn't find a sitter, so I got a video.* Just remember, son, it doesn't matter whether you win or lose-unless you want Daddy's love. Be advised, if you find yourself relating to any of the parents in this book, you need to chill out. Fortunately, Because I'm the Child Here and I Said So is the antidote to all your parenting woes. Whether you keep it for your own sanity or give it to a desperate parent, the cartoons of Pat Byrnes will delight and amuse.

Captain dad :
ISBN: 0762785209 OCLC: 812254435

When the first baby came, Byrnes naively volunteered to stay home with the kids. On one condition: he wouldn't be called Mr. Mom, but Captain Dad. He reports on the front lines of modern parenting, tackling all of the expected subjects, like sleep deprivation and the constant battle against Disney for your child's affections. But he also covers the less expected, more random moments on the job and the surprising insights they offer.

Eats, shoots & leaves :
ISBN: 1592403913 OCLC: 191929236

We all know the basics of punctuation. Or do we? A look at most neighborhood signage tells a different story. Through sloppy usage and low standards on the internet, in email, and now text messages, we have made proper punctuation an endangered species. In Eats, Shoots & Leaves, former editor Lynne Truss dares to say, in her delightfully urbane, witty, and very English way, that it is time to look at our commas and semicolons and see them as the wonderful and necessary things they are. This is a book for people who love punctuation and get upset when it is mishandled. From the invention of the question mark in the time of Charlemagne to George Orwell shunning the semicolon, this lively history makes a powerful case for the preservation of a system of printing conventions that is much too subtle to be mucked about with.

What would Satan do? :
ISBN: 0810992434 OCLC: 58842909

H.N. Abrams, New York : 2005.