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The author


Joe O'Connell is a writer, documentary filmmaker and photographer based in Austin, Texas. 

He is completing The Contortionists through the two-year Book Project of the Lighthouse Writers Workshop in Denver. The story has obsessed him since first seeing the Youtube video of the Ross Sisters performing in the film Broadway Rhythm. He has spoken to family members, traveled to London and Paris on their trail and done extensive research.

His background is both in fiction and nonfiction. He started out as a newspaper reporter/editor and was a film industry columnist for the Dallas Morning News, Austin Chronicle and Austin American-Statesman. He has also contributed to Variety, Texas Monthly, Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine and the San Antonio Express-News. He holds an MFA in creative writing from Texas State University. His first book of fiction was Evacuation Plan, which won the North Texas Book Award and was a finalist for the Writers League of Texas Book Award. 

He had directed/produced two documentary films: Rondo and Bob about Texas Chain Saw Massacre art director Robert Burns' obsession with Rondo Hatton aka the Creeper, and Danger God about legendary B-movie stuntman and actor Gary Kent. 

O'Connell is an associate professor of English and Creative Writing at Austin Community College. He lives outside Austin, Texas, with his wife and son.

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