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John (Johnny) Wickliff Shawnessy was a frustrated poet, who had to settle for a career in teaching. He is the protagonist of the novel Raintree County by Ross Lockridge, Jr. He was twice married, with a daughter Eva Alice Shawnessy by his second wife, Esther Root.

Philip José Farmer discusses the Shawnessy family in his book Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life. He identifies Eva Alice as the mother of the notorious science-fiction author Kilgore Trout, and Johnny and Esther's son Wesley as grandfather of another genre writer, Leo Queequeg Tincrowder.

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