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John R. Powers was born in 1945 on the South Side of Chicago. He earned a BA in sociology from Loyola University Chicago and an MA and a PhD in communications from Northwestern University. He wrote his doctoral dissertation on Studs Terkel, a Chicago radio personality and writer known for his oral histories ("Hard Times," "The Good War"). Powers was a professor of speech and performing arts at Northeastern Illinois University for six years. He also created and hosted a number of specials for Chicago public television during this time. Powers's stories first appeared in the form of articles written for "Chicago" magazine. The novels followed in quick succession: "The Last Catholic in America," " Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?," and "The Unoriginal Sinner and the Ice-Cream God." He has written one other novel, "The Junk-Drawer Corner-Store Front-Porch Blues," as well as "Odditude: Finding the Passion for Who You Are and What You Do." He and his wife, JaNelle, have two daughters, Jacey and Joy. He lives in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, and is a motivational speaker.