About William Shunn - William Shunn

About William Shunn

William Shunn was born in Los Angeles and raised in Utah, the eldest of eight children in a devout Mormon family. A writer from a young age, he attended the Clarion Writers Workshop at Michigan State University in 1985, when he was 17. As was expected, he departed on a proselytizing mission for the LDS Church at the age of 19. He was assigned to preach in Alberta, Canada, but after six months he was convicted of felony mischief in connection with a false bomb threat and expelled from the country. The complete story is recounted in his 2015 memoir, The Accidental Terrorist: Confessions of a Reluctant Missionary.

William Shunn, photographed by Colin Poellot at SingleCut Beersmiths, Sunday, August 16, 2015
In 1991, Shunn graduated from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City with a degree in computer science. Soon thereafter he began finding success as a science fiction writer. His short fiction has appeared in Salon, Storyteller, Bloodstone Review, Newtown Literary, Asimov's Science Fiction, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Science Fiction Age, Realms of Fantasy, Electric Velocipede, and various anthologies, including year's-best collections. His work has been nominated for the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award, the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, and the Association for Mormon Letters Award.

A small collection of his stories, An Alternate History of the 21st Century, was published by Spilt Milk Press in 2007, with an introduction by Cory Doctorow. Cast a Cold Eye, a short horror novel co-written with Derryl Murphy, appeared from PS Publishing in 2009.

Shunn served three years as a national juror for the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, and for three years hosted and produced the acclaimed Tuesday Funk literary reading series in Chicago. He has long worked as a software developer, notably for WordPerfect Corporation and Sesame Workshop, and on September 11, 2001, he created what may have been the first online "survivor registry," a database that allowed people in affected cities a way to report themselves safe.

William Shunn left the Mormon Church in 1995 and developed one of the earliest ex-Mormon web sites. He lives in New York City, where for three years he hosted and produced Line Break, a monthly live literary magazine.