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Biography

This is the Official Information Page.

 

Deborah WIles. high-res photo credit: Sonya Sones

Deborah WIles. high-res photo credit: Sonya Sones

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deborah Wiles. high-res photo credit: Sonya Sones

Deborah Wiles. high-res photo credit: Sonya Sones

 

 

 

 


A bio for young readers can be found here.

The Michele Norris/NPR/All Things Considered interview link is here.


1. Short Bio:

Deborah Wiles is a Mississippian who grew up in Jasper County and in the Air Force, and is the author of picture books and novels for readers young and old, including Each Little Bird That Sings, a 2005 National Book Award Finalist, and the documentary novels Countdown and Revolution. Revolution was a 2014 finalist for the National Book Award. Deborah teaches teachers and writers around the country, and writes from Atlanta, Georgia.

2. More detailed version:

Deborah Wiles is the author of picture books —  ONE WIDE SKY and FREEDOM SUMMER — and middle-grade novels:  LOVE, RUBY LAVENDER (which made its way onto 32 state book award lists), EACH LITTLE BIRD THAT SINGS (a 2005 National Book Award Finalist), THE AURORA COUNTY ALL-STARS (a SIBA Book Award finalist), and two documentary novels: COUNTDOWN, book one of The Sixties Trilogy, and REVOLUTION, book two, which was also a National Book Award Finalist.

Deborah’s work has received the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award, the PEN/Phyllis Reynolds Naylor Working Writer Fellowship, a Jane Addams Peace Award honor, and the E.B. White Read-Aloud Award, among many others. She has taught writing workshops to thousands of emerging adult writers, students, and teachers in assemblies and workshops for 20 years at writing conferences, workshops, retreats, and schools around the world. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia, where she grows the world’s most beautiful zinnias, climbs Stone Mountain, and avoids the Atlanta traffic.

3. Longer version

Two-time National Book Award Finalist Deborah Wiles was born in Alabama into an Air Force family and spent her growing-up summers in a small Mississippi town with an extended family full of Southern characters. Today she writes about them and they live on in her stories. She has written essays for various magazines and newspapers since 1986, has been a magazine managing editor, has conceived and facilitated grant-funded oral history programs, has been a radio program host, and has written seven books for young readers and their grown-ups.

Deborah is the first children’s book author to be named Writer-in-Residence at Thurber House, James Thurber’s boyhood home in Columbus, Ohio. She received the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award from the New York Public Library and the Keats Foundation in 2002 and is the 2004 recipient of the PEN/Phyllis Reynolds Naylor Working Writer Fellowship.

She holds an MFA in Writing from Vermont College and taught “Writing Techniques for Teachers” at Towson University in Maryland until she moved to Atlanta in 2004. She also taught writing in the MFA programs at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and at Vermont College. Today she teaches writers in workshops, residencies, and conferences across the U.S. and around the world.

Deborah has written two picture books: One Wide Sky (Harcourt, 2003), a Children’s Book of the Month Club selection, and Freedom Summer (Simon & Schuster, 2001), winner of numerous awards including dual Ezra Jack Keats Awards and the Coretta Scott King/Steptoe award for illustrator Jerome Lagarrigue. A book about Robert Kennedy is forthcoming from Scholastic.

Deborah has written three novels about growing up in the south. They are known as the Aurora County Trilogy. Love, Ruby Lavender was an ALA Notable Children’s Book, a Children’s Book Sense 76 Pick, and a New York Public Library Book for Reading and Sharing. The book has also been nominated for 32 state book award reading lists, voted on by children. Deborah’s novel Each Little Bird That Sings won the Bank Street Fiction Award for 2005, a Golden Kite Honor Award, the California Young Reader Medal, was a 2005 E.B. White Award winner and is a 2005 National Book Award finalist. The Aurora County All-Stars was a SIBA Book Award finalist. It completes the Aurora County trilogy.

Deborah’s newest project is called “The Sixties Trilogy: Three Novels of the 1960s.” Book one, Countdown, was published in May 2010 by Scholastic Press. Book two, Revolution, was published in 2014 and is a Golden Kite Award winner, a Jane Addams Peace Award honor book, an NAACP Image Award finalist, and a 2014 National Book Award Finalist.

Deborah lives in Atlanta, Georgia, where she avoids the traffic, writes songs with her husband, jazz pianist Jim Pearce, climbs Stone Mountain, and grows the world’s most beautiful zinnias.


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