by P. E. McWhorter, Editor, Vancouver Books
(Updated in 2023)
Frank Zahn left home at the age of sixteen to escape the poverty and ignorance that plagued his old neighborhood on the south side of Kansas City, Missouri. He finished high school while living with his older brother, served a hitch in the U. S. Navy, and graduated from college with a BA in economics (major) and philosophy (minor). Afterwards, he married, had two children, and attended graduate school where he earned a PhD in economics.
With an academic career behind him, he now devotes full time to reading, traveling, and writing. When asked if he enjoyed academic life, he said, "Yes, I did. Teaching and research were great experiences, and there was always time for honing my writing skills. I did other things as well. I took a leave of absence to set up and head an economic forecasting unit for a large government agency in Washington D. C., and I took several sabbaticals and leaves of absence to travel, lecture, and study abroad. I'm grateful for the whole experience, especially the travel because it broadened my understanding of the social, economic, and political problems cultural diversity presents."
An award winning lecturer, a Fulbright scholar, and a former consultant for the World Bank, Frank Zahn has traveled to Great Britain, most of Western Europe, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, several countries in Central America, China, India, Japan, and much of West Africa. His four trips to lecture at universities in China are the most memorable, especially the trip to Beijing and Dongying during the 1989 massacre in Tiananmen Square. When traveling, he does not shy away from culture shock. Once he remarked, "Why travel abroad if all you’re going to do is stay at the Hilton, sightsee, and shop for souvenirs in the tourist areas?"
His publications include nonfiction books, economic research articles, commentaries, book reviews, essays, novels, short stories, and lots of poetry.
His poetry has appeared in numerous literary publications, and his first book of poetry Alive with Thoughts and Feelings: Prose and Other Poetry was published in 2004. Perceptions: Prose and Other Poetry was published in 2016, and REFLECTIONS: A Collection of the Author's Short Prose and Poetry was published in 2019. Also published in 2019 was his fourth book of poetry Alive! Short Prose and Poetry. In 2023, two more books of poetry were published, namely Heartfelt: Short Prose and Poetry and My Best: So Says Zhang Fu Lai.
Foreigner: In the Shadow of the Square, his debut novel, was published in 2009. A second novel Light at the End of the Dark: The Marianne Kennedy Story was published in 2016. The second release of his third novel NEVER DEFEATED: The Rineharts of 82nd Street was published in 2019.
The Writings of a Curious Mind: A Collection of Essays, Memoirs, and Short Stories was published in 2017. People Alive: Short Stories and Memoirs was published in 2023.
Micro and Macro Supply and Demand: A Basic Text was published in 2017, followed by the publication of Micro and Macro Economics Simplified in 2021.
His favorite subjects are economics, politics, and religion—all three of which provide constant intellectual stimulus and an endless list of topic and themes to research, think, and write about.
Favorite poets include Lord George Gordon Byron, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Rudyard Kipling, Kahlil Gibran, and A. B. (Banjo) Paterson. Among contemporary poets, he admires the works of Ted Kooser, Perie Longo, Kim Sosin, and Marvin Bell.
Favorite writers of literary fiction include Emile Zola, D. H. Lawrence, F. Scot Fitzgerald, Ayn Rand, Graham Greene, Tennessee Williams, and Ernest Hemingway. Favorite writers of commercial fiction include John Jakes, Catherine Cookson, David Baldacci, and Frank Slaughter.