Writer. Editor. Blogger. Proofreader. Marketing consultant. Kidney transplant recipient. Shameless Detroit booster. World-class Words With Friends player.

Jim McFarlin can claim a remarkable four-decade career as a professional journalist, columnist, author, critic, radio and television broadcaster, screenwriter and award-winning blogger. A regular contributor to publications across the Midwest and beyond, his work has appeared in People, USA Today, Men's Book Chicago, CS, HOUR Detroit (Michigan's largest city magazine), Black Enterprise, Electronic Media, The (Detroit) Metro Times, UAW-Ford Community, Deliver (for the U.S. Postal Service), Wayne State, BLAC Detroit, Connections, dbusiness and Illinois Alumni.

Jim also maintains two blogs: Big Glowing Box, an outlet for the former Detroit News TV critic to continue his love of media and pop culture commentary; and JK – Just Kidneying, chronicling his life after Stage IV kidney failure and a successful 2011 organ transplant, which won the Robert Felter Memorial Award for education and outreach from The Renal Network, Inc.

He has written or edited a dozen books, ranging from an encyclopedic, 1,000-plus page guide to rhythm-and-blues music (Musichound R&B: The Essential Album Guide), to a biography of Detroit rock 'n' roll pioneer Mitch Ryder, to a how-to handbook for exotic dancers (The Exotic Entertainer's Bible). He has edited three novels for award-winning mystery author Mike Brogan; a screenplay that he co-wrote, The Brewster Project, was made into an independent film that won audience Best Picture prizes at festivals in New York and Los Angeles. He hosted his own Detroit radio program for several years and served three seasons as co-host, associate producer and resident critic for the popular syndicated movie-review TV series, Flix 'n' Pix.

A onetime standup comedian and substitute PA announcer for the Detroit Pistons, Jim today is an ardent public speaker and advocate for proper usage of the English language (his "Wordgrouch" series), kidney disease prevention and organ donation. He is a contributing writer for the "Live Now: Rethink Kidney Disease" website for the worldwide Baxter Pharmaceuticals firm. He is the ESRD (End-Stage Renal Disease) patient representative for the State of Illinois, sits on the Board of Directors for ESRD Networks 9/10 of NSI, Inc., and serves as secretary for a National Kidney Foundation of Illinois chapter. He lives outside Chicago with his wife, Karen, but can be seen almost any day rooting for a Michigan sports team. ANY Michigan sports team.

The Wordgrouch

JIM McFARLIN is a man on a mission. His life’s desire: to help every person in America write right – that is, know how to use the English language correctly.

“We used to have a common language, but we don’t anymore,” asserts the award-winning former journalist for The Detroit News, now an in-demand freelance writer for publications across the nation. “Between emails, Tweets, emoticons, texts and our constantly changing slang terms, we’re losing the ability to communicate with each other in the most basic way.

“We have more methods to connect with each other than at any time in history, yet we understand each other less. What good is writing if no one can grasp what you mean?”

McFarlin, the self-proclaimed “Wordgrouch” – because he stubbornly refuses to compromise his standards on precise and proper English usage – is anything but grouchy when it comes to conducting seminars, workshops, guest lectures or mentoring.

A professional writer for nearly four decades and a former standup comedian, McFarlin has become known for his lively, entertaining and captivating presentations. He has trained groups of worldwide automotive communicators for Chrysler, advised fellow journalists for a Metro Detroit suburban newspaper chain, encouraged incoming journalism students at Wayne State University. Among the actual survey feedback comments:

  • "Great job! Entertainment at its finest by an experienced journalist. Greatly enjoyed it!
  • “I loved the presenter’s zeal. I could tell right away he has a love for the language.”
  • "Very informative and entertaining! Jim is a great speaker. Very energetic!"
  • "This class was very good. It was fun, informational and most of all, comfortable. I will retain what I learned.”
  • "Jim McFarlin made it fun!"

Now “the Wordgrouch” wants to bring that energy and commitment to your group, organization or classroom.

McFarlin’s work has appeared in such publications as People, USA Today, HOUR Detroit, The Jewish News, Men’s Book Chicago, Huffington Post, Entertainment Weekly and Electronic Media. He has launched five magazines and edited many more. He served as Editorial Supervisor for the oldest custom publishing company in America and has written, edited or co-edited nine books. His latest project, a nonfiction book about a friend convicted of murder, is in the research stage.

For booking information, call (313) 670-7728.


“I don’t care what you say…I care how you say it!” – Jim McFarlin

wordgrouch@gmail.com                              Twitter: @wordgrouch


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