Jonathan Seth Hayward was born in 1975 in Riverside, California and had a childhood filled with curiosity and exploration. In eighth grade, he ranked 7th in the U.S. in the 1989 MathCounts competition, programmed a four dimensional maze, and did an independent study of calculus. This mathematical fascination prepared the way, over time, to ongoing explorations in other areas. These other explorations would feed into his work as an author on the web.
Hayward entered high school in 1989 at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy. There he continued in mathematics while pursuing a breadth of other interests. These interests laid broad and deep foundations for his later multidisciplinary endeavors on the web. In 1990-92, he administered a student-use social network that effectively provided web 2.0 functionality before the web became widely known. He also participated in, and wrote for, discussions on the social network, continued in French, and pursued more whimsical endeavors such as programming a video game on his calculator. He graduated in absentia in 1992, away in Washington, D.C. for a math contest.
He went on to study at Wheaton as a National Merit Scholar majoring in math in 1992, before transferring in 1994 to Calvin. Outside of class time at these two schools, he continued with interests that would come to have surprising connections and bear fruit in his later writing. He read the Bible at length, began working on the web, and started to write works that would be published on his main site. During his studies at Calvin, he earned an advanced certificate from the Sorbonne in 1995 before graduating from Calvin in 1996.
He began his post-graduate education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1996. He earned his M.S. in applied math in 1998 with a computational science and engineering option and being the first person to graduate with the new master's thesis option. During that time, he began to explore other languages besides French and English. He passed a proficiency test to opt out of a year's German coursework within two weeks of self-study. (He would go on to study well over a dozen dialects and languages: ancient, medieval, modern, "conlang," computer...) By the time Hayward had finished his first master's, he had already begun his literature site. This site began to receive the first of what would grow, over years, to become more than 200 awards.
After some time out of school and beginning work as a computer consultant, Hayward enrolled at Cambridge in 2002. He earned a diploma (2003) and second master's (2004), this time an M.Phil. in theology directed under the philosophy of religion seminar. He then completed doctoral coursework in theology at Fordham University (2005-7), and briefly audited postgraduate anthropology and linguistics courses at Wheaton (2007). He is continuing computer work and writing literature, and his work has been published in journals including Inner Sanctum, Noesis, Perfection, Ubiquity, and Vidya, in addition to works for the popular Orthodox humor site, The Onion Dome, and a puzzle analysis published by some of the people at IBM's Watson Labs.
Hayward holds both a distinctive perspective and an ability to make surprising connections. Everything is connected, and this enriches his writing. His diverse academic interests and achievements are tied to an ability to make connections between seemingly remote areas, which brings a very rich fuel to see old things in new ways and new things in old ways. One Cambridge thesis used a concept in object-oriented programming as a basis for analysis in assessing Biblical studies. Such connections are a part of his writing and life. Hayward wears many hats: author, philosopher, theologian, artist, poet, wayfarer, philologist, inventor, web guru, preacher, teacher. He has created in, if anything, more genres than these hats: annotated bibliography, article, Borges-style short works, Christian, dictionary, dystopia, Eastern Orthodox, essay, experimental, fantasy, game, game review, humor, imaginary anthropology, interactive fiction, journal, koan, metacognition, mysticism, novella, parody, philosophy, poetry, poster, prayer, reference, satire, science fiction, short story, Socratic dialogue, speculative fiction, and theology.