Townsend, Lawrence G. 1951-

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TOWNSEND, Lawrence G. 1951-

PERSONAL: Born 1951, in Berkeley, CA; married; wife's name Laura, April 23, 1988. Education: University of California, Santa Barbara, B.A. (English); University of San Francisco, J.D.

ADDRESSES: Home—San Rafael, CA. Offıce—455 Market St., 19th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105. Agent—c/o Liz Trupin-Pulli, Jet Literary, 2570 Camino San Patricio, Sante Fe, NM 87505. E-mail— [email protected].

CAREER: Attorney in the area of intellectual property law; novelist.


Secrets of the Wholly Grill: A Novel about Software, Barbecue, and Cravings, Carroll and Graf (New York, NY), 2002.

WORK IN PROGRESS: Currently working on a comic novel

SIDELIGHTS: Attorney and author Lawrence Townsend comes from a long line of native Californians. His family has been in the San Francisco area since the 1860s. He is a practicing attorney in California who specializes in intellectual property law. His work has led him to assist a wide variety of people, including publishers, artists, software inventors, dancers, and writers. Townsend, himself, joined the ranks of writers when, on a dare, he registered for a creative-writing course. The course required participants to bring a "work in progress" to class. Not knowing what topic to choose, he was advised by a friend to follow the conventional advice, and write about something he knows intimately. The convergence of law and technology was the clear choice. In the course of his career, Townsend has developed a strong interest in the treatment of consumers by software merchants. This has been an area of debate between the technology and legal communities for some time. Townsend saw possibilities for a novel stemming from some of these issues, and Secrets of the Wholly Grill: A Novel about Software, Barbecue, and Cravings was born.

Secrets of the Wholly Grill combines elements of courtroom drama with comedy to examine contemporary business ethics and problems in intellectual property. The plot is set in Silicon Valley and revolves around ThinkSoft, an ambitious software firm. As the story unfolds, ThinkSoft plans to monopolize barbecue culture in the United States with its computer controlled grill, meat sales and a sauce of such addictive power that it has spawned its own twelve-step program. The action is set in motion by a hapless everyman, Lenny Milton, who, when he finds that he cannot log on properly to his ThinkSoft grill, tries to cook the free meat sample on his old one. Mayhem ensues and so does the lawsuit. Lawyers and a journalist are enlisted by Lenny to see that justice, or some form of consumer satisfaction is accomplished. Because nearly every imaginable aspect of Wholly Grill is under legal protection, the challenge to the unhappy consumer is clear. The reviews have been generally favorable with particular attention paid to the legal issues raised and the madcap humor.



Kirkus Reviews, November 15, 2001, review of Secrets of the Wholly Grill: A Novel about Software, Barbecue, and Cravings, p. 1578.

Oakland Tribune, June 5, 2002, Jim Harrington, review of Secrets of the Wholly Grill.

Publishers Weekly, November 19, 2001, review of Secrets of the Wholly Grill, p. 46.


Wholly Grill Home Page, (May 24, 2003).