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Jack Andrew Cady was born on March 20, 1932 in Columbus, Ohio. As the author biographies in his books often tell, he worked at many jobs including logging, truck driving, and the Coast Guard. Many of these jobs feature prominently in his novels. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Louisville in 1961. He published stories in a few journals and anthologies and he published many more short stories and two collections before publishing his first novel, The Well, in 1981.
During this time he taught at Knox College in Illinois, Clarion College in Pennsylvania, and the University of Alaska before starting his career at Pacific Lutheran University. He worked there for 13 years until his retirement. He taught writing and literature classes and continued to write prolifically, publishing a total of nine novels and nearly uncountable short stories and essays. He won numerous awards and honors, including the Nebula and World Fantasy awards and a $20,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
He made Port Townsend, WA his home and lived and worked there. He married writer Carol Orlock in 1977. He died of cancer in 2004 at age 71.