James Kilgore was a 1960s political activist in California, who ultimately became involved with the Symbionese Liberation Army. In 1975, he fled a Federal explosives charge and remained a fugitive for 27 years. During that time, he rejected the politics of small group violence and built a life as an educator, researcher, activist, parent and husband in Southern Africa. Using the pseudonym of John Pape, he earned a Ph.D. and authored a number of academic articles and educational materials and co-edited the acclaimed 2002 anthology: Crisis of Service Delivery in South Africa (HSRC, Cape Town and Zed Press, London). Authorities arrested Kilgore in November 2002 and extradited him to California where he served six and a half years in state and Federal prison. While incarcerated, he worked as a teachers’ assistant and also completed the drafts of eight novels and a screenplay. Umuzi Publishers (Cape Town) released his first work, We Are All Zimbabweans Now, in June of 2009. Two of his subsequent novels are contracted for release in 2011, Prudence Couldn’t Swim (PM Press, Oakland, CA) and Freedom Never Rests: A Novel of Democracy in South Africa (Jacana Media, Johannesburg).
He presently lives with his family in Illinois where he is a Research Scholar at the Center for African Studies at the University of Illinois.