Former B.A.R. book critic Jim Nawrocki dies

  • by Cynthia Laird
  • Wednesday June 6, 2018
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Jim Nawrocki, a gay man who wrote book reviews for the Bay Area Reporter, died May 31 at his home in San Francisco. He was 54.

The cause of death was liver failure, which was a complication of metastatic colon cancer that was diagnosed almost three years ago, his husband, Jason Wong, told the B.A.R. in an interview.

Mr. Nawrocki wrote book reviews from 1998 until the mid-2000s, B.A.R. arts editor Roberto Friedman said.

"Jim Nawrocki was a great pleasure to work with and a dependable byline," Friedman said. "He was quite well-versed in the gay literature of our time, and was always up for interviewing major literary figures. His colleagues here will miss him."

Wong said that Mr. Nawrocki had fond memories of writing for the B.A.R. and especially enjoyed the paper's holiday parties, which gave him an opportunity to meet the other writers.

Wong said that Mr. Nawrocki was a voracious reader.

"He loved to read, he enjoyed shopping for books to read and collect," Wong said.

Mr. Nawrocki also liked traveling.

Mr. Nawrocki was born May 7, 1964, in Toledo, Ohio. He graduated from Bowling Green University, where he received a bachelor's degree in English, and the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he received a master's in English.

He moved to San Francisco about 22 years ago.

In addition to writing for the B.A.R, Mr. Nawrocki's poetry appeared in the Gay and Lesbian Review Worldwide, Poetry, Nimrod, Chelsea Station, the website, and other journals.

Wong said that, for more than 10 years, Mr. Nawrocki worked in corporate communications for Wells Fargo. There, he did community engagement and other communications duties.

Wong and Mr. Nawrocki were together for almost 15 years. The couple were married in September 2008, during the brief time same-sex couples could get married in California before the passage of Proposition 8. (The U.S. Supreme Court in 2013 threw out Prop 8, the state's same-sex marriage ban.)

Wong said that Mr. Nawrocki could be "quite reserved."

"But once he interacted with you, he had a great wit about him," Wong said. "We created a world together."

In addition to Wong, Mr. Nawrocki is survived by two older brothers, Bernard Nawrocki of Toledo, and Jeff Nawrocki of Milwaukee; a niece, Grace Nawrocki of Toledo; and his cat, Phillip Lorenzo.

Plans for a memorial have not yet been announced.