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Michael Hemmingson

Los Angeles, California, United States
Occupation novelist, journalist, short story writer, essayist, cultural anthropologist, qualitative researcher.
Nationality American
1982 - present
Genres Literary fiction, genre fiction
Subjects culture, violence, autoethnography
Literary movement Avant-Pop

Michael Hemmingson is a novelist, short story writer, literary critic, cultural anthropologist, qualitative researcher, musician, playwright, and screenwriter who has been called “Raymond Carver on acid” by literary guru Larry McCaffery and “a disciple of a quick and dirty literature” by the American Book Review.[1]


Publishing History

Some of his books include the novels Wild Turkey (Forge Books), The Rose of Heaven (Prime Books), The Comfort of Women (Blue Moon) and In the Background is a Walled City (Borgo Press). He co-edited Expelled from Eden: A William T. Vollmann Reader (Thunder’s Mouth Press), wrote a critical study on Vollmann (from McFarland) and an annotated bibliography of Vollmann’s many words (from Scarecrow Press).

His first novel, The Naughty Yard, was published in 1994 from Permeable Press.

As an independent scholar, Hemmingson has written the meditation, Gordon Lish and His Influence on Twentieth Century American Literature (Routledge)[2], a short TV studies monograph on Star Trek (Wayne State Univ. Press), and an ethnographic research project, Zona Norte (Cambridge Scholars).[3]

He is working on a biography of Raymond Carver, set for publication in 2011 by McFarland and Co.

Known pseudonyms

  • Louis Kahn Nin
  • Gabriel Kellgren
  • Kelly Greene
  • John Shade (director of adult films)

Hemmingson most likely has published genre work under other names, not known at this time.


As a screenwriter, his first indie feature, The Watermelon, was produced by LightSong Films.[4][5][6]

The adaptation of his novel, The Dress, was shot in New York.

He is set to direct his screenplay, Stations, produced by Hand Picked Films and Hemlene Entertainment Group.

Optioned projects: Mommy vs. the Evil Bank Robbers, The Wedding Stopper.

Maxim Dashkin directed and produced a short script, Aliens, based on a one act play.

Real Ideas Studio produced a short documentary, "Life in Zona Norte,"[7] that was screen at Cannes Film Festival's Short Film Corner[8] May, 2009.[9]

Foreign Correspondence

In the mid-1990s, Hemmingson worked as a foreign correspondent for several news wire services, reporting from the front lines in Rwanda, Somalia, Senegal, Yemen,Belgrade, Sarajevo, and San Paulo, Brazil.


He is a staff writer at the San Diego Reader.[10] Many of the photos that accompany his articles there have been taken by San Diego's iconic brand photographer, Chris Morrow.[11]

He left the San Diego Reader in 2010 and joined the staff of Pacific San Diego Magazine.

Hemmingson won the San Diego Book Awards Association's first Novel-in-Progress grant for The Rose of Heaven and SDBAA’s Best Published novel for Wild Turkey.

Recipient of two Evertt Helm Research Fellowships at the Lily Library Indiana University for research on Gordon Lish, Raymond Carver, and William Vollmannn.

Won the 2009 Norman K. Denzin Qualitative Research Award from the Carl Couch Center for Internet and Social Research.


Hemmingson has acknowledged[12] influences Harlan Ellison, Raymond Carver, Gordon Lish, and William T. Vollmann for literature, Wim Wenders, David Lynch, David Mamet, and Stanley Kubrick for film.

Playwrighting and directing influences include David Mamet,Harold Pinter, Nicky Silver, Mac Wellman, and Sam Shepard.

Critically, he has been influenced by Jean Baudrillard, Larry McCaffery, Norman K. Denzin, and Frank Lentricchia.


From 1995-2000, he was Literary Manager of The Fritz Theater in San Diego, where he directed, produced, and wrote many plays there, as well as for his own company, The Alien Stage Project, that still produces theater in San Diego and Los Angeles.

His full-length play, Driving Somewhere, won the 1997 Ventana New Play Award in San Francisco. It was first produced in 1995 by The Fritz Theater.

His one-act play, Iraq, was produced in the 2000 Samuel French One-Act Play Festival in New York.

His one-act, Milk, has been widely produced and is published in the book, The Art of the One-Act. It has been produced in Seattle, Los Angeles, New York, and San Diego.

His full-length play, Erotic Scenes in a Cheap Motel Room, has been produced by dozens of theaters and is available as a radio drama from Walcott & Sheridan Audio Library.

Fritz Theater original productions: Driving Somewhere, Iraq, Bosnia, Erotic Scenes in Cheap Motel Room.

Alien Stage Project original productions: Erotic Scenes in a Cheap Motel Room, Milk.

Actor's Alliance Play Festival original productions: Milk, NASDAQ, The Aliens, Happiness.

Compass Theater (San Diego) production of full-length, Stations in Summer 2009.

Independent Scholarship

As an independent scholar, Hemmingson focuses his studies on Raymond Carver and William T. Vollmann, and the methodologies of critifiction and autoethnography. He has published extensively in these areas of study, as well as critical monographs on Star Trek, Barry N. Malzberg, Charles Bukowski, blogging and micro-blogging.

In 2009, at the National Communications Association convention in Chicago, Hemmingson was awarded, by the Carl Couch Center, the Norman K. Denzin Qualitative Research Award for his paper of auto/ethnography, "Fragments of my Grandmothers."[13]


He is former guitar player, sonic atmospherist and occasional saxophonist for the band Tyburn Jig, a four-piece act that gigged in San Diego from 1988-89, with a one-shot reunion in 1993. Jordan Faris served as lead singer and lyricist, Deacon Littlefield was the band's original drummer; later, he was replaced by Dave (Ben Grimm) Sullivan, who was drummer until the band's demise. Dave Ryder was the principal bassist for the duration of the group. Other musicians who played with Tyburn Jig included Clifton Winnard (bass), Sean (Ziggy) Ohlssen (bass), and Tom Mueller (keyboards). The name of the band comes from the tree outside the courthouse of London's Tyburn River. Those condemned to the death sentence were hung on the tree; observers would cry out when seeing the squirming bodies hanging: "Look, mate---he's dancin' th' Tyburn jig!" The impetus came from band names like Joy Division and Spandau Ballet.

Tyburn Jig was one of the last "second wave" goth bands in San Diego, eschewing the Southern California variant of Goth exemplified by 45 Grave and Christian Death and pursuing a more eurocentric sound, more akin to the styles of Bauhaus, Tones on Tail, Sisters of Mercy and 'Dark Wave" industrial-synth bands such as Cocteau Twins, early Cure and the second incarnation of Ministry. On stage, Hemmingson would typically begin with a prolonged, searing, other-worldly wail of backwards reverb, followed by Ryder's flanged, minor-key bassline driving in an undertone. Sullivan's tribal drums augmented by electronic percussion would join in. Then Faris would intone one of the bands' dirge-anthems, which dealt with topics ranging from the fragmented schism of hope to the serial inevitability of intimacy's cruel end. Their stage props and effects included samples of Ennio Morricone soundtracks, occasional fog and Brechtian white light, as well as the random flare thrown into the audience.


  • Nowhere is Safe. Samizdat Press, 1985. {Poetry chapbook}
  • Reaching Into the Wet Darkness. Stow, Ohio: Impetus Press, 1986. {Poetry chapbook}
  • Moving in on the Conservatives. Detroit, MI: Planet Detroit Press, 1995. {poetry chapbook}
  • The Naughty Yard. San Francisco: Permeable Press, 1994. {Novella}
  • Crack Hotel. San Francisco: Permeable Press, 1995. {Novella}
  • Nice Little Stories Jam-Packed with Depraved Sex & Violence. Denver, CO: CyberPsychos AOD Press, 1995. {Collection}
  • Minstrels San Francisco: Permeable Press, 1997. {Novel}
  • Driving Somewhere San Francisco: Vantana Productions, 1997. {play}
  • Snuff Flique. Boulder, CO: CyberPsychos AOD Press, 1997. {Collection}
  • The Mammoth Book of Short Erotic Novels. New York: Carrol & Graf, 2000. {Anthology co-edited with Maxim Jakubowski}
  • WTF: The Avant-Porn Anthology. New York: Soft Skull Press, 2000. {Edited anthology}
  • The Mammoth Book of Legal Thrillers. New York: Carrol & Graf, 2001. {Edited anthology}
  • Wild Turkey. New York: Forge, 2001. {Novel}
  • The Comfort of Women. New York: Blue Moon Books, 2001. {Novel}
  • The Dress. New York: Blue Moon, 2002. {Novel}
  • Drama. New York: Blue Moon, 2002. {Novel}
  • Seven Women and Other Stories. New York: Venus Book Club, 2002. {collection}
  • My Dream Date with Kathy Acker. Portland, OR: Eraserhead Press, 2002. {Collection}
  • The Rooms. New York: Blue Moon, 2003. {Novel}
  • The Lawyer. New York: Blue Moon, 2003. {Novel}
  • The Case of the Missing College Student. New York: Blue Moon, 2003. {Novel}
  • Rwanda. Yellow Bat Press, 2003. {Poetry chapbook}
  • The Classics Professor. New York: Gotham Books, 2003. {Novel}
  • My Fling with Betty Page. Portland, OR: Eraserhead Press, 2003. {Novel}
  • The Rose of Heaven. Halicog, PA: Prime Books, 2004. {Novel}
  • The Garden of Love. New York: Blue Moon, 2004. {Omnibus edition of three novels}
  • Amateurs. New York: Blue Moon, 2004. {Novel}
  • House of Dreams Book I: Aurochs and Angels. New York: Blue Moon, 2004. {Novel}
  • House of Dreams Book II: Prophetic Sonnets. New York: Blue Moon, 2005. {Novel}
  • House of Dreams Book III. New York: Blue Moon, 2005. {Novel}
  • Expelled from, Eden: A William T. Vollmann Reader. New York: Thunder's Mouth Press, 2004. {Anthology co-edited with Larry McCaffery}
  • Las Vegas Quartet Book I: Melody. New York: Blue Moon, 2005. {Novel}
  • Las Vegas Quartet Book II. New York: Blue Moon, 2006. {Novel).
  • Las Vegas Quartet Book III. New York: Blue Moon, 2006. {Novel}
  • Las Vegas Quartet Book IV. New York: Blue Moon, 2007. {Novel}
  • How to Have an Affair and Other Instructions. San Bernardino, California: The Borgo Press, 2007. {Collection}
  • Milk Kalamazoo, MI: New Issues in Poetry and Prose, 2007. {Play}
  • In the Background is a Walled City. San Bernardino, CA: The Borgo Press, 2008. {Novella)
  • The Dirty Realism Duo: Charles Bukowski and Raymond Carver on the Aesthetics of the Ugly. San Bernardino, CA: The Borgo Press, 2008. The Milford Series: Popular Writers of Today No. 70. {Literary criticism}

{Socio-anthropological study)

  • William T. Vollmann: A Critical Study and Seven Interviews. Jackson, NC: McFarland and Co., 2009. {Literary criticism}
  • Autoethnographies: Sex and Death and Symbolic Interaction in the Eighth Moment of Qualitative Inquiry. The Borgo Press, 2009. {Essays}
  • Star Trek. Riverside, CA: The Borgo Press, 2009. {TV/media study)
  • The Yacht People. The Borgo Press, 2009. {Novel}
  • iBLOGGER: Escribitionism, Symbolic Interactionism, and the Electronic Double in the Blogosphere. Newscastle-on-Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars, 2010. {Cultural study}
  • William T. Vollmann: An Annotated Bibliography. Lanham, MD:The Scarecrow Press Press, 2010. {Bibliography}
  • Pictures of Houses with Water Damage. New York: Black Lawrence Press, 2010. {Collection}
  • First Person Sociology: Towards Autoethnography and the Reflexive "I" in Today's Qualitative Research . Jefferson, NC: MacFarland and Co., 2010. {Edited anthology}
  • This Other Eden: Three Novellas and Three Stories. Brooklyn, NY: The Dybbuk Press, 2009. {Collection}
  • Shabbytown. Rockland, MD: Black Mask Books, 2009. {Novella}
  • The Trouble with Tramps: An Orrie Hitt Homage. Rockland, MD: Black Mask Books, 2010. {Novel)
  • Ourselves or Nothing. Rockland, MD: The New Traveller's Companion/Olympia Press, 2010. {Poetry collection}
  • Women in the Short Fiction of Raymond Carver . Jefferson, NC: McFarland and Co., 2011. {Criticism}
  • Gordon Lish and His Influence on Twentieth Century American Literature. New York and London: Routledge, 20011. {Literary criticism}
  • Time Lust. NY: Tor, 2012.(Novel)


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