Palahniuk was born in Pasco, Washington. He is the son of Carol and Fred Palahniuk, and grew up living in a mobile home in nearby Burbank, Washington with his family. His parents later separated and divorced, often leaving him and his three siblings to live with their grandparents at their cattle ranch in Eastern Washington.
In his twenties, Palahniuk attended the University of Oregon's School of Journalism, graduating in 1986. While attending college he worked as an intern for National Public Radio member station KLCC in Eugene, Oregon. He moved to Portland soon afterwards. After writing for the local newspaper for a short while, he began working for Freightliner as a diesel mechanic, continuing in that job until his writing career took off. During that time, he also wrote manuals on fixing trucks and had a stint as a journalist (a job he did not return to until after he became a successful novelist). After casually attending a free, introductory seminar held by an organization called Landmark Education, Palahniuk quit his job as a journalist in 1988. Wanting to do more with his life than just his job, Palahniuk did volunteer work for a homeless shelter. Later, he also volunteered at a hospice as an escort; he provided transportation for terminally ill people and brought them to support group meetings. He ceased volunteering upon the death of a patient to whom he had grown attached.
Palahniuk would also become a member of the rebellious Cacophony Society in his adulthood. He is a regular participant in their events, including the annual Santa Rampage (a public Christmas party involving pranks and drunkenness) in Portland. His participation in the Society inspired some of the events in his writings, both fictional and non-fictional. Most notably, he used the Cacophony Society as the basis for Project Mayhem in Fight Club. - Wikipedia