Leon Forrest was born in Chicago in 1937. His father worked as a bartender on the railroad. When his parents divorced and his mother remarried, he worked as a bartender and clerk in their liquor store, like Joubert in Divine Days. He attended Roosevelt University and then studied playwriting at the University of Chicago but did not complete the course, and he was drafted. After finishing military service, he returned to work in the bar but took courses at the University of Chicago. He started writing plays as well as doing journalism. His first novel, There Is a Tree More Ancient Than Eden, was published in 1973 but had only limited success. The same year he started teaching at Northwestern University, where he continued teaching till his death. He went on to write further novels, plays, essays and a libretto for an opera. He died of prostate cancer in 1997. His work has sadly not been fully recognised. His novel Divine Days, now sadly out of print, is one of the great” big” novels that appeared in the 1960s and 1970s and deserves greater recognition.