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Terry Tarnoff


Terry Tarnoff was born in Rice Lake, Wisconsin, a small town in the northern United States, the son of Russian immigrants. His family later moved to Milwaukee where, at the age of twelve, he became a cub reporter for The Northwest Reporter. He was paid a penny a word to write phony letters to the editor to help fill out a half-empty newspaper.

He attended the University of Wisconsin in Madison during the political upheaval of the 1960s, worked at the East Side Bookstore in New York’s East Village during the Summer of Love, lived for several years in Berkeley, then headed for Europe, where he supported himself as a blues musician, playing harmonica in bands from London to Amsterdam to Stockholm. Soon after, he hooked up with an international brigade of travelers, a new generation of expatriates who took their cues from Henry Miller, Paul Bowles, and Jack Kerouac as they pushed further down the road.

That road led to the coast of Kenya and the plains of Tanzania, to the deserts of India and the mountains of Nepal, to the war-torn villages of Laos and the islands of Indonesia. Along the way, Terry explored the mysteries of Hinduism and Buddhism, played with an African band in Mombasa, performed as a singer-guitarist in the Far East, and was a member of a rock band in Goa, India.

After eight years on the road, he returned to San Francisco in 1978, where he continued his musical career for several years before turning to writing. He has since worked as a screenwriter, had four scripts optioned by Hollywood production companies, taught two film courses, driven a taxi, managed an African art gallery, and written for an internet film site.

His first book, The Bone Man of Benares, was published by St. Martin’s Press in 2004. A one-man show adapted from the book was produced later that year by the Encore Theatre Company in San Francisco. His second novel, The Thousand Year Journey of Tobias Parker, was published by Avian Press in March, 2013. His third book, The Chronicle of Stolen Dreams, was published by Avian Press in October, 2013. His fourth book, The Reflectionist, was published by Avian Press in November, 2016. This book was revised, expanded and re-published by Avian Press in 2020 under the title, Once Upon a Time in Goa.

The audiobook version of The Bone Man of Benares was released by Avian Audio in February, 2019. The audiobook version of Once Upon a Time in Goa was released in July, 2020.

Terry lives in San Francisco, where he is working on his next novel.


Terry Tarnoff

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