William J. Jackson was born in Rock Island, Illinois, and studied acting at the Goodman Theatre, Art Institute of Chicago. He has lived in Vermont, California and other parts of America, and has spent a total of three and a half years in India. He studied Indian traditions and la
William J. Jackson was born in Rock Island, Illinois, and studied acting at the Goodman Theatre, Art Institute of Chicago. He has lived in Vermont, California and other parts of America, and has spent a total of three and a half years in India. He studied Indian traditions and languages at Harvard University, where he earned his PhD. He taught courses on Comparative Religion, Asian Religions and Indian culture for twenty-five years at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis. He is the author of several books about south Indian musician-saints, three of them published by Oxford University Press, and one about generosity in America (Baylor University Press). He has published a book of short stories in India, Worldviews Kaleidoscope, and a novel set in midwest America, entitled Diving for Carlos, a finalist in ForeWord magazine’s 2005 Book of the Year awards. A novella he wrote, “The Floating Empire of Dancing Bears,” was a finalist in the Faulkner/Wisdom Competition in 2008. His non-fiction book Cascade Books, entitled “American Tricksters: Thoughts on the Shadow Side of a Culture.” He was awarded a fellowship to spend a month to work on “Heaven’s Fractal Net” (Indiana University Press) at the Rockefeller Research Center in Bellagio, Italy.
His novel, Gypsy Escapades, is the first in a series of suspense novels set in international locations such as India, Kashmir and New York City. In these buddy stories, some of the same characters re-appear and grapple with crises and issues of our times, such as terrorism, the harm extremists do to members of their own faith, and bullying. Gypsy Escapades explores a question we are faced with today: Is there a way to fight terrorism without becoming exactly like the terrorists? Jackson has taught courses which have included the study of Gandhi’s life, and has lectured on Gandhi’s art of transforming ‘evil’ non-violently, and is a contributor of articles to the Satyagraha Foundation website. All of the novels in the Escapades series tell stories in which a crisis is approached with non-violent means by international young people, including several very talented young women, who accomplish daring feats with their determination and intelligence.
Jackson is married to Marcia Plant Jackson, a nurse practitioner. Their daughter, Rose Jackson, was a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar who spent two years in Nairobi, and is a Truman Fellow. She has worked in the area of Human Rights for the US State Department, and currently works for the Open Society Foundations.
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