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Karen Cushman was born on October 4, 1941. in Chicago. As a child, she went alphabetically down the public library shelves, trying to read every book. She earned degrees in English and Greek from Stanford University. "I excelled at writing depressing poems and irreverent parodies of school songs, but college creative writing class sent me screaming into the night looking for something else to do."

She got a crummy job with the telephone company. She quit. She got other crummy jobs. Quit them too. She married, had a daughter, and got a master's degree in Museum Studies. She was fifty when she started writing for kids. She heard Ray Bradbury give a speech that made her write the book that had always been trying to get written. And another the next year, and another the next.

Her Newbery Medal acceptance speech will take the top of your head off. http://www.eduplace.com/rdg/author/cushman/newbery.html

Karen enjoys blackberry jam.


"This time when I said, 'Listen, I have this great idea for a book,' (my husband) refused to listen. He said, 'Don't tell me. Write it down.' So I did."

"I know myself better now than before I began to write. Now you do, too."

It's sappy. But I want to put it here. Her husband says:

"Before she began to devote most of her work week to writing, there was always about Karen the sense of something desperate trying to come out. Through a lot of hard work, and despite a sizable amount of self-doubt and fear, Karen Cushman found the courage to let herself write. Fortunately for us. She deserves to be known by you, and you . . . deserve to know her and her stories. I am glad to share her with all of you. In fact, I am relieved to do so. I have been waiting for so long for you to know about her. Now you, and she, can take it from here. Enjoy."


The Ballad of Lucy Whipple

Catherine, Called Birdy

Matilda Bone

The Midwife's Apprentice   (1996 Newbery Award)

thanks to:

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