Charles Michael “Chuck” Palahniuk (born February 21, 1962) is an American novelist and freelance journalist, who describes his work as transgressional fiction. He is best known as the author of the award-winning novel Fight Club, which also was made into a feature film. He maintains homes in the states of Oregon and Washington.
Palahniuk was born in Pasco, Washington, the son of Carol Adele (née Tallent) and Fred Palahniuk. He has Ukrainian, Russian, and French ancestry. His paternal grandfather was Ukrainian and emigrated to New York from Canada in 1907. Palahniuk grew up living in a mobile home in nearby Burbank, Washington with his family. His parents separated when he was fourteen and subsequently they divorced, often leaving him and his three siblings to live with their maternal grandparents at their cattle ranch in Eastern Washington. Palahniuk’s father began a relationship with a woman, whose ex-boyfriend murdered the couple. Later, Palahniuk’s mother died of cancer.
In his twenties, Palahniuk attended the University of Oregon School of Journalism, and graduated in 1986. While attending college he worked as an intern for National Public Radio member station KLCC in Eugene, Oregon. He moved to Portland soon afterward. After writing for the local newspaper for a short while, he began working for Freightliner as a diesel mechanic, continuing in that job until his writing career took off. During that time, he also wrote manuals on fixing trucks and had a stint as a journalist (a job he did not return to until after he became a successful novelist). After casually attending a free, introductory seminar held by an organization called Landmark Education, Palahniuk quit his job as a journalist in 1988. Palahniuk performed volunteer work for a homeless shelter; later, he also volunteered at a hospice as an escort; he provided transportation for terminally ill people and brought them to support group meetings. He ceased volunteering upon the death of a patient to whom he had grown attached.
As an adult, Palahniuk became a member of the rebellious Cacophony Society. He is a regular participant in their events, including the annual Santa Rampage (a public Christmas party involving pranks and drunkenness) in Portland. His participation in the Society inspired some of the events in his writings, both fictional and non-fictional. Most notably, he used the Cacophony Society as the basis for Project Mayhem in Fight Club.
In September 2003, Palahniuk was interviewed by Karen Valby, a reporter for Entertainment Weekly. During the interview, in confidence, Palahniuk mentioned information pertaining to his partner. It previously had been believed by many that he was married to a woman (some members of the press had claimed he had a wife), but in fact, Palahniuk had been living with his boyfriend. Some time later, Palahniuk came to believe that Valby was going to print this information in her article, without his consent. In response, he made an angry audio recording and put it on his web site, not only revealing that he was gay, but also making negative comments about Valby and a member of her family. Palahniuk’s fears turned out to be incorrect, however, and Valby’s article did not reveal anything about his personal life outside of the fact that he was unmarried. The recording was later removed from the web site, making some fans believe that Palahniuk was embarrassed by his homosexuality. According to Dennis Widmyer, the site’s webmaster, the recording was not removed because of the statements regarding his sexuality, but because of the negative statements about Valby. Palahniuk later posted a new recording to his site, asking his fans not to overreact to these events. He also apologized for his behavior, claiming that he wished he had not recorded the message. Palahniuk now is openly gay and according to a profile and interview in The Advocate in May 2008, he and his unnamed male partner, live in “a former church compound outside Vancouver, Washington.”
Palahniuk began writing fiction in his mid-thirties. By his account, he started writing while attending workshops for writers that were hosted by Tom Spanbauer, which he attended to meet new friends. Spanbauer largely inspired Palahniuk’s minimalistic writing style.
Chuck Palahniuk – Damned (read by Tai Simmons)
Chuck Palahniuk – Doomed (read by Tai Simmons)
Chuck Palahniuk – Fight Club (read by Jim Colby)
Chuck Palahniuk – Choke (read by Chuck Palahniuk)
Chuck Palahniuk – Invisible Monsters (read by Anna Fields)
Chuck Palahniuk – Survivor (read by Paul Michael Garcia)
Chuck Palahniuk – Lullaby (read by Richard Poe)
Chuck Palahniuk – Haunted (read by Jack Bauer, Scott Brick, Marc Cashman, Kimberly Farr, Arthur Murray, Renee Raudman and Lorna Raver)
Chuck Palahniuk – Diary (read by Martha Plimpton)
Chuck Palahniuk – Rant (read by RBPC)
Chuck Palahniuk – Snuff (read by Todd McLaren)
Chuck Palahniuk – Stranger Than Fiction: True Stories (read by Dennis Boutsikaris and Chuck Palahniuk)
Chuck Palahniuk – Pygmy (read by Paul Michael Garcia)
Chuck Palahniuk – Tell-All (read by Hillary Huber)
Chuck Palahniuk – Beautiful You (read by Carol Monda)