J. Adams Oaks

Author | Editor | Educator

J. Adams Oaks is a writer, editor, and translator from Chicago. His first novel, WHY I FIGHT (Atheneum Books, Simon & Schuster), was a Junior Library Guild selection, an ALA Best Book For Young Adults and won awards from the National Society of Arts and Letters, the Illinois Arts Council, and the Lincoln Award from the Illinois Teen Readers’ Choice Master List.

His short stories and essays appear in The Nervous Breakdown, River Oak Review, The Madison Review, Packingtown Review, Hypertext Magazine, and numerous anthologies including Windy City Queer and The Way We Sleep.

An Emeritus Company Member with Chicago’s 2nd Story storytelling collective, his work has been adapted for Chicago Public Radio, Stories on Stage at the Museum of Contemporary Art, and Theatre Seven of Chicago, and he is a longtime collaborator with musician Andrew Distel, finding language and lyrics for Distel’s original jazz scores.

For five years, Oaks worked as the Literary Editor of Chicago Artist Resource—spotlighting the exciting, innovative writing community in his home city and helping local artists connect with opportunities including jobs and grants—and currently works as a freelance editor and coach supporting writers in the development of book-length projects.

Oaks is fluent in Spanish and has worked on translations from cookbooks to web content to scholarly work such as Three Plays by Isaac Chocrón: Translation and Critical Study; He is available for translation of projects both large and small.

As an educator, he taught Young Adult Fiction at Columbia College Chicago and guest-lectures at high schools, libraries, and universities across the midwest including Gallery 37 and the University of Chicago. 

The Chicago Tribune called him a writer to watch. Thanks for watching.