Michael Hemmingson

Michael Hemmingson — screenwriter, novelist, poet, playwright, literary critic, and guitarist — died of a heart attack on January 9, 2014 in Tijuana. He was 47 years old. He covered local music, the crime beat, culture, and social issues for the Reader from 2004 through 2009. He also published novels, short story collections, literary criticism, and edited anthologies, such as Expelled from Eden: A William T. Vollmann Reader, and The Mammoth Book of Legal Thrillers. His novel, The Rose of Heaven, set in Temecula, c. 1911, won the first San Diego Book Awards Association’s Novel-in-Progress Grant in 2000. The SDBAA also awarded him Best Published Novel of 2002 for Wild Turkey, a noir thriller that takes place in North Park and Las Vegas. Another of his San Diego-centered books is In the Background Is a Walled City, set in San Diego and Santa’s Castle in the North Pole.

Hemmingson was also an ethnographer, publishing both empirical and theoretical work in qualitative inquiry under the aegis of sociology, communications, and anthropology, including Auto/Ethnographies: Sex and Death and Symbolic Interaction in the Eighth Moment of Qualitative Inquiry: Seven Essays on the Self-Ethnography of Self He also published an ethnographic study of Tijuana, ZONA NORTE: The Post-Structural Body of Erotic Dancers and Sex Workers in Tijuana, San Diego and Los Angeles: An Auto/ethnography of Desire and Addiction.

His feature film, The Watermelon, was released in fall 2008.

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