JOHN W. FOUNTAIN is an award-winning journalist, professor and author of the memoir, True Vine: A Young Black Man's Journey of Faith Hope and Clarity (Public Affairs, 2003). He has been a national correspondent for the New York Times. He was previously a staff writer at the Washington Post and the Chicago Tribune. He holds bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and was a Michigan Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan. He is a professor of journalism at Roosevelt University in Chicago and a weekly columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times.
Fountain grew up on some of the meanest streets in Chicago, where drugs, crime, decay, and broken homes consigned so many black children to a life of despair and self-destruction. A father at seventeen, a college dropout at nineteen, a welfare case soon after, Fountain was on the verge of giving up all hope. One thing saved him--his faith, his own true vine.
True Vine is his remarkable story--of his childhood in a neighborhood heading south; of his strong-willed grandparents, who founded a church (called True Vine) that sought to bring the word of God to their neighbors; of his mother, herself a teenage parent, whose truncated dreams help nurture bigger dreams in him; of his friends and cousins, whose youthful exuberance was extinguished by the burdens they faced; and of his religious awakening that gave him the determination to rebuild his life.
Dear Dad captures a compelling story--of Fountain's journey and his reflections on fatherlessness as well as his own insights as a father today. But as an anthology, Dear Dad also provides a wider look at the impact of fatherlessness, and fatherhood, through the tales of fifteen other writers. Collectively, theirs is a story of paternal loss, and love; the story of men who sought to be good fathers and to nurture big dreams in their children, but also the story of men who by their absence, abuse, or neglect might have all but extinguished their children's dreams, were it not for mothers, male mentors, the spirit of community, and hope. Dear Dad is a story of remarkable human spirit; of forgiveness, fortitude, faith, and fatherhood.
For more information, visit http://www.author.johnwfountain.com
Extended Fountain Biography:
Over a 25-year career, he has won numerous awards. In 2014 and 2011, Fountain received the Peter Lisagor Award for Exemplary Journalism for columns published in the Sun-Times. Fountain won the Lisagor Award in the category of news column or commentary among daily newspapers with a circulation of 250,000 or more from the Chicago Headline Club—the largest local chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists in the country. In 2014, Fountain’s column was awarded best column by the Illinois Press Association. In 2012, for his column in the Sun-Times, Fountain received the Illinois Associated Press Editors Association Award and the Chicago Journalists Association Sarah Brown Boyden Award.
His essay, “The God Who Embraced Me,” appears in National Public Radio’s book, This I Believe (Henry Holt Books, 2006), as part of the nationally acclaimed series initiated by Edward R. Morrow. Fountain is currently working on two book projects: No Place for Me: Letters to the Church in America; and Son of the Times: Life, Laughter, Love and Coffee, a book of essays. He and his wife Monica have two children and live in Chicago’s south suburbs.