John McMurtrie has three decades of experience as an editor and writer. As an independent book editor, John works for McSweeneys Publishing, among others, and he is a contributing editor at the literary travel magazine Stranger’s Guide. In the fall of 2020, he helped launch the California Book Club. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, Literary Hub, the quarterly magazine Alta, and the literary journal Zyzzyva.

From 2008 to 2019, John was the books editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, where he wrote and edited thousands of pieces, including reviews, essays, profiles, and breaking-news stories.

John has served on the jury panels of One City One Book: San Francisco Reads and the Commonwealth Clubs California Book Awards. He is the recipient of the Friend of Independent Bookselling Award, from the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association, and the Northern California Book Reviewers Recognition Award.

In 2019 and 2020, he taught in the Master of Fine Arts in Writing program at the University of San Francisco.


John lives in the Bay Area.