Facing the Firing Squad: Jim McManus
Meet James McManus (a.k.a. Jim McManus)
Jim McManus is arguably, some would say conclusively, poker’s most naturally gifted writer. He penned one of the most widely-acclaimed poker books ever with his master work Positively Fifth Street, released in 2003. He later released what many consider the definitive narrative history of poker with his 2009 release, Cowboys Full: The Story of Poker. McManus is also the author of five novels, one of which (Going to the Sun) won the Carl Sandburg Award for Literature. He’s currently working on a much-anticipated semi-autobiographical novel, about the experiences of a young boy growing up in a strong Catholic family. McManus currently lives in the Chicago area. He is a Professor at the School of Art Institute in Chicago. McManus is also a highly-competitive poker player with many successes and cashes, including a fifth place finish in the 2000 world poker championship.
What are some of the things you stand for?
Freedom of and from religion. Legal online poker.
What are some of the things you stand against?
Relentless partisanship in D.C.
What living person do you admire the most, and why?
Alice Munro and Stuart Dybek — maestros of the short story.
What historical figure do you admire the most, and why?
As Good Jim and Bad (in “Positively Fifth Street”) I’m fascinated by Good Tom and Bad Thomas Jefferson.
What living person do you despise?
If money were not an object, what profession would you chose?
What is it about yourself that you are most proud of?
35 years teaching young writers.
What is about yourself that you’d like to change?
What’s the most exciting thing you’ve ever done?
20 minutes in the Oval Office talking poker with President Obama.
What the most unusual time and place you’ve ever visited?
Chicago Bulls locker room after their 1994 and 1997 world championships.
Name a place you’ve never visited where you still want to go?
Goldbraceletville, Nevada 89103
Favorite book, favorite music, and favorite musician?
“Bringing Up the Bodies” by Hilary Mantel; “Lost in Translation” by Jack White.
What upsets you the most?
What bores you?
Bad beat stories, especially my own.
Do you believe in an afterlife and why do you believe it so?