Poe Ballantine

The Book Catapult is proud to host author Poe Ballantine on Tuesday, May 29th at 7pm. Poe will be discussing and signing his fantastic new novel, Whirlaway.

About Whirlaway: Eddie Plum, who insists he’s been unjustifiably committed to a California psychiatric hospital, manages to finally escape after fourteen years of incarceration to start his life anew. On the run, he holes up in a sheltered barrio on a bluff above the Pacific Ocean owned by his wealthy but unsympathetic father. Here he meets Sweets, the telepathic dog, laments the loss of Sofia, his madhouse lover, and plays the horses at the Del Mar Racetrack. Eventually he meets up with an old friend, Shelly Hubbard, a fellow horseplayer, record collector/dealer, and hardcore loner, who tells him about his brother, Donny, dead at the age of eighteen from a tragic dive off a thirty-foot La Jolla sea cliff known as the Clam. Eddie discovers a family secret and wants to help, but by then he’s already embroiled in the psychotic incident with the Tijuana prostitutes, the madhouse lover, and the police, who are hot on his tail. Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride has nothing on Whirlaway a hilarious novel of escaped mental patients, horseplayers, and record collectors.

Poe Ballantine currently lives in Chadron, Nebraska. His work has appeared in The Atlantic MonthlyThe SunKenyon Review, and The Coal City Review. In addition to garnering numerous Pushcart and O. Henry nominations, Mr. Ballantine’s work has been included in the anthologies The Best American Short Stories 1998 and The Best American Essays 2006.

Note from Seth: I am a HUGE Poe Ballantine fan. What his official bio doesn't tell you is that he grew up here in San Diego and is a tremendousy talented writer. Here's the Catapult review of his last book, Love & Terror on the Howling Plains of Nowhere, which just blew me away. And I LOVED Whirlaway. It's hilarious, super-weird, has a telepathic dog, and is set right here in our fair city. What more could you ask for?

Event date: 
Tuesday, May 29, 2018 - 7:00pm
Event address: 
3010-B Juniper Street
San Diego, CA 92104
Staff Pick Logo
Whirlaway Cover Image
ISBN: 9780997068399
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Hawthorne Books - April 1st, 2018

Whirlaway is a solid contender for the best book I’ve read in 2018. Poe Ballantine is one of my favorite writers – a wayward son of San Diego living in Nebraska, he has written an absolutely hysterical, biting novel about America’s Finest City that just killed me. Record-collecting, Del Mar Racetrack betting, La Jolla cliff diving, & Tijuana prostituting all swirl around an unreliable, escaped mental patient of a narrator & his telepathic dog. So incredibly ridiculous & hilarious, I implore you, dear reader, to enter the mind of Poe with me. You may never return.  -Seth

Love & Terror on the Howling Plains of Nowhere Cover Image
By Poe Ballantine, Cheryl Strayed (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9780983477549
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Hawthorne Books - September 3rd, 2013

Things I Like about America: Personal Narratives Cover Image
ISBN: 9780971691513
Availability: Please contact store for availability
Published: Hawthorne Books - September 1st, 2002