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Like the protagonist of Real Gone, Jim Christy grew up in Philadelphia, led a knockabout life in the United States which included carnivals, hoboing, and professional boxing, was involved in radical politics and moved to Canada in 1968. As well as being a writer, he is also a widely exhibited visual artist and has recorded CDs of poetry and music and performed in various countries. Recent books include the novel The Redemption of Anna Dupree (2004) and the nonfiction book Scalawags (Anvil Press, 2008).