John Jakes

John Jakes
Born John William Jakes
(1932-03-31) March 31, 1932
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Pen name Jay Scotland
Occupation Writer
Nationality American
Period 1950–present
Genre Historical novels, fantasy, science fiction
Notable works

John William Jakes (born March 31, 1932)[1] is an American writer, best known for American historical fiction. He has used the pen name Jay Scotland.

Early life and education

Jakes was born in Chicago, Illinois.[2] He first sold stories to pulp magazines while still in college in the early 1950s.[3] He studied creative writing at DePauw University, Greencastle, Indiana, graduating in 1953. He then earned an M.A. in American literature from The Ohio State University.

Writing career

Cover of Science Fiction Quarterly featuring John Jakes' "The Taint"

Thrilling Wonder Stories, edited by Sam Merwin, published two 1949–1950 letters from Jakes and two of his stories were published in pulp magazines edited by Howard Browne late in 1950, The Dreaming Trees (Fantastic Adventures, November) and "Your Number is Up!" (Amazing Stories, December). ISFDB catalogs 28 more speculative fiction stories published 1951 to 1953.[4] Jakes published dozens of stories and several novels during the twenty years following completion of college, many of them fantasy fiction, science fiction and westerns and other sorts of historical fiction, while working in the advertising industry. In 1971, he began to write full-time.

During this time, he was a member of the Swordsmen and Sorcerers' Guild of America (SAGA), a loose-knit group of heroic fantasy authors founded in the 1960s and led by Lin Carter. The eight original members were self-selected by fantasy credentials alone. They sought to promote the popularity and respectability of the "Sword and Sorcery" subgenre (such as Brak the Barbarian stories by Jakes).

Jakes gained widespread popularity with the publication of his Kent Family Chronicles, which became a bestselling American Bicentennial Series of books in the mid to late 1970s,[2] selling 55 million copies. He has since published several more popular works of historical fiction, most dealing with American history, including the North and South trilogy about the U.S. Civil War, which sold 10 million copies and was adapted as an ABC-TV miniseries.


Jakes lives in Florida with his wife, Rachel, to whom he has been married since 1951. They have four grown children: Andrea, Ellen, J. Michael, and Victoria.


Mainstream novels

The Kent Family Chronicles

The North and South trilogy

The Crown Family Saga


Science fiction and fantasy

The first Brak story, "Devils in the Walls", was originally published in Fantastic Stories in 1962. It was collected in The Fortunes of Brak

Brak the Barbarian

Dark Gate


Planet of the Apes

Other novels


Children's books



The Bastard was adapted as a television miniseries by Universal Pictures Television as the first offering of the highly successful syndicated package, Operation Prime Time (1978). It was followed by "The Rebels" (1979) and "The Seekers" (1979). The North and South trilogy was made into three miniseries on ABC in the 1980s and 1990s.

See also


  1. "John Jakes". Contemporary Authors Online. May 15, 2008. Retrieved December 20, 2010.
  2. 1 2 L. H. Whittemore (June 19, 1977). "Meet John Jakes: Instant Historian and Millionaire". Youngstown Vindicator. Retrieved July 4, 2013.
  3. "Author Jakes on top after long struggle". Sarasota Journal. May 26, 1977. Retrieved July 4, 2013.
  4. John Jakes at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database (ISFDB). Retrieved 2013-04-07. Select a title to see its linked publication history and general information. Select a particular edition (title) for more data at that level, such as a front cover image or linked contents.

External links

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