Jack Bickham was born September 2, 1930, in Columbus, Ohio. He was an assistant professor at the University of Oklahoma's H.H. Herbert School of Journalism in Norman, Oklahoma, from 1969 to 1972, associate professor from 1972 to 1979, and full professor in 1979. He directed the annual short course on professional writing from 1973 to 1990. Bickham received the rank of David Ross Boyd Professor, the highest honor the University can bestow for teaching excellence. He died at Norman Regional Hospital following a lengthy battle with lymphoma.
Jack Bickham wrote 75 published novels, some under the pseudonym of John Miles, and six instructional books on thecraft of fiction. Two of his novels were made into motion pictures: The Apple Dumpling Gang, published in 1971 and filmed in 1975, and Baker's Hawk, published in 1974 and filmed in 1976. Two of his books have been reprinted by Reader's Digest Condensed Books and two have been Detective Book Club selections. He was the 1998 winner of the Arrell Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award (S.E. Hinton was the 1997 winner). He is a member of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame and the Oklahoma Writers Hall of Fame.