Nebraska Authors

Daniel Quinn

Born 1935-10-11 Omaha, NE (USA)

Died 2018-02-17
Houston, TX (USA)

Omaha native Quinn attended Creighton Prep and studied at St. Louis University and the University of Vienna. He attempted to become a Trappist monk but was discouraged from doing so by his spiritual supervisor, Thomas Merton. He was a journalist, free-lance writer, social critic, and novelist.

Quinn's 1992 novel, Ishmael was a unique expression of Quinn's unconventional understanding of how humanity fails to understand nature and the real world in which we dwell. Ishmael attracted both admiration and controversy. The novel was awarded the $500,000 Turner Tomorrow Award, at sponsor Ted Turner's insistence, after the committee of judges dissolved in controversy. One judge, author William Styron, said while it was worthy, it was worth nowhere near the prize amount, if indeed any one book might be. Ray Bradbury disagreed and called the novel "a fine piece of work." The novel made Quinn's reputation as a writer. He had been working on versions of it as early as the 1960s. When singer-activist Pete Seeger was interviewed about his favorite books he said that "Ishmael is the book I buy 10 at a time and give away to all sorts of folks."

Places Lived

Omaha, NE
Albuquerque, NM
Austin, TX
Houston, TX
Chicago, IL
St. Louis, MO

Author Of

  • Fiction
  • Journalism
  • Nonfiction


Environmentalism; Future; Novels


Creighton Preparatory School, Omaha, NE
Bachelor's Degree in English, cum laude, 1957, Loyola University, Chicago, IL
Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO
University of Vienna, Vienna, AUSTRIA


Trappist monk
Free-lance Writer

Places Worked

Quinn ran a small newspaper in Albuquerque, NM


Winner of $500,000 (Ted) Turner Tomorrow Award, 1992


Former Trappist monk under direction of Thomas Merton, poet and religious author


Dreamer. 1988.
Ishmael. 1992.
Providence: The Story of a Fifty-Year Vision Quest. 1995.
The Story of B: Adventure of the Mind and Spirit. 1996.
My Ishmael: A Sequel. 1997.
A Newcomer's Guide to the Afterlife. 1997. (with Tom Whalen)
Beyond Civilization. 1999.
The Man Who Grew Young. 2001.
The Holy. 2002.
Tales of Adam. 2005.
Work, Work, Work. 2006.
If They Give You Lined Paper, Write Sideways. 2007.
Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril. 2010.
At Woomeroo. 2012.
The Invisibility of Success. 2014.
The Teachings. 2014.

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Daniel Quinn

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(e.g. Author is buried in Fremont, not in David City / Also wrote for the Daily Nebraskan during her time as a student)