About Jason Pettus
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About Jason Pettus

Jason Pettus is a front-end software developer in Chicago, as well as the owner of the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography. Born in 1969, he grew up in a suburb of St. Louis and eventually attended the University of Missouri-Columbia as a fine-art photography major, where among other things he founded and ran a student art gallery, drew a comic for the school newspaper, and was a member of a comedy improvisation troupe. He moved to Chicago in 1994 and quickly changed tracks into creative writing; by the time he retired from pursuing this for a career a decade later, he had published three novels and roughly three dozen short "chapbooks" of stories, performance poetry, essays and more, placed second at the 1997 National Poetry Slam as a member of the Chicago/Green Mill team, won a grant from the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs for his experimental online "hyperfiction" writing, performed in such venues as National Public Radio and the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, and amassed an audience at its height of 30,000 people a day for his confessional online journal, created before the invention of the word "blog."

As the owner of CCLaP he has edited and published roughly 40 original books since 2007, for total distribution in the tens of thousands via ebook and paper. Among other accolades, the center was named one of the 15 best small presses in the United States by Poets & Writers magazine and one of the 5 best by BookRiot.com, has won or been nominated for a dozen national literary awards (including multiple Pushcart Prize nominations for its weekly magazine, The CCLaP Weekender), and was included in Newcity's 2011 "Best of Chicago" issue. He has served on the nominating committee of the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame, volunteers regularly for the children's computer programming organization CoderDojo, and runs a popular rare-book dealership as a hobby. In his spare time he enjoys bicycling, urban gardening, Victoriana, and playing way too much Minecraft.