Jesse Bier's career encompasses both literary and academic fields. He has written novels, short stories, poetry, and plays as well as scholarly articles, a standard history of American humor, and varied essays.
He was born in Hoboken, New Jersey, about which he writes in the recent Transatlantic Lives, which also portrays much of France, primarily in WWII, in which he took part and was wounded in the battle for the Remagen bridgehead on the German Rhine. It was during his recovery at the American recuperation center in Biaritz, France, that he met his future French wife in the summer of 1945.
When he returned to the states he studied literature at Bucknell University and received his PhD from Princeton. While studying, he began to write about his experiences in the war. His short stories were published widely in journals like Esquire and Virginia Quarterly Review. His novels, Trial at Bannock and Year of the Cougar, garnered reviews in the New York Times. Trial at Bannock was optioned in the 1960s, and one of Bier's sorest disappointments is that the film was never made.
He taught briefly at the University of Colorado and then spent the rest of his academic career at the University of Montana, with periodic sojourns at universities in California, Pennsylvania, and a year at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, where he was appointed Professeur Extraordinaire in 1991. He chose to return to Montana forever, peripherally to bring up his three children in Missoula.
Now, at 87, with his wife falling victim to Alzheimer's, he's returned to humor and writing to bolster him. His children have urged him to bring his writing and his unpublished manuscripts to light. Taking another look at the publishing world, Bier has decided to try his hand at ebooks. He's seen publishing go through several changes over his life and is excited to venture into this newest avenue because "it presents opportunities the older publishing establishment does not. I have found both agents and editors harder to reach. I also found, in these years, that they're less accessible and efficient than they were. And there are fewer of them. I've been told by fellow writers, 'You're too old.'" But Jesse has been proving his fellow writers wrong.
His first foray into ebooks, The Cannibal, is available through Amazon and also, in the fall of of 2013, as a POD. Its story is horrific but with extra psychological and social dimensions that expand it beyond the confines of a gripping shocker.
Two of his plays, After the Khazars and Four of a Kind, are currently awaiting production at the University of California, San Diego, and he is at work on new fiction, drama, and poetry. Tentative titles to look for are Ocho Rios (a short, suspenseful novel set in Jamaica), Phenomenal Farewell (a poetry collection), Fables by an American, and After Dying (serio-comic science fiction). So much for ambition. Longevity is another matter.