John Fante was born in Denver, 1909. His father was an alcoholic labourer, who had emigrated years earlier from Italy, his mother a younger, quiet lady. A hard childhood is reflected in Fante's vaguely autobiographical character Arturo Bandini. After a Catholic education, Fante enrolled at the University of Colorado. In 1929 Fante dropped out of the University of Colorado and moved to L.A., California. Probably due to racism against "dago's" Fante rejected his Italian heritage.

In L.A. Fante spent his time reading (Nietzche, Joyce, and Millay amongst others), working dead end jobs and searching for his muse.

After publishing Wait Until Spring, Bandini, and being married to a Stanford graduate Joyce Smart at 30 years of age, Fante's career started to slide. During the 1940's and '50's Fante spent time writing sell out books in Hollywood, none of which earnt much critical acclaim.

By his death in 1980 Fante was sick, near blind and had an amputated leg, due to mismanaged diabetes. He was still little known, much less so than Charles Bukowski for whom Fante was a major influence, describing Fante's work as finding "gold in the city dump." Missing from the above list is arguably Fante's best novel, published by Rebel Inc, Ask The Dust.