Charles Michael Palahniuk (born February 21, 1962) is an American novelist and freelance journalist, who describes his work as transgressional fiction. He is the author of the award-winning novel Fight Club, which also was made into a popular film of the same name.
Palahniuk was born in Pasco, Washington, the son of Carol Adele (née Tallent) and Fred Palahniuk. He has French and Ukrainian ancestry. His paternal grandfather was Ukrainian and migrated to New York from Canada in 1907. Palahniuk grew up living in a mobile home in Burbank, Washington. His parents separated when he was 14 and subsequently divorced, often leaving him and his three siblings to live with their maternal grandparents at their cattle ranch in eastern Washington. Palahniuk acknowledged in a 2007 interview that he is a nephew of actor Jack Palance, and that his family had talked of distant relations with Palance.
In his 20s, Palahniuk attended the University of Oregon School of Journalism, graduating in 1986. While attending college, he worked as an intern for National Public Radio member station KLCC in Eugene, Oregon. He moved to Portland, Oregon soon after. He wrote for the local newspaper for a short while, and then began working for Freightliner as a diesel mechanic, continuing until his writing career took off. During that time, he wrote manuals on fixing trucks and had a stint as a journalist, a job to which he did not return until after he became a successful novelist. After casually attending a seminar held by an organization called Landmark Education, Palahniuk quit his job as a journalist in 1988. He performed volunteer work for a homeless shelter and volunteered at a hospice as an escort, providing transportation for terminally ill people and bringing them to support group meetings. He ceased volunteering upon the death of a patient to whom he had grown attached.