Friday, April 25, 2008

Author Spotlight: Linda Sue Park

Linda Sue Park has been writing poems and stories since the age of four.  Born March 25, 1960, in Urbana, Illinois, she grew up outside of Chicago.  This author, like the one spotlighted last week, did not set out to be a children's author.

Ms Park's Korean immigrant parents strongly encouraged reading - which the author has said is the most important thing a writer can do.  She remembers her father taking her to the library every two weeks, from the time she was very small.  It's no surprise to learn that her favorite activity as a child was reading, and re-reading.  She credits this love of reading with what makes her a better writer.

Her first published work was a haiku printed in Trailblazer magazine (Winter 1969) when she was nine years old.  Her payment: a check for $1.  She never cashed it.  Instead, she gave it to her father as a Christmas present, and to this day it hangs framed above his desk.  She continued to be published in magazines throughout her elementary and high school years.

After graduating from college, Ms Park started her career in 1981 as a public relations writer.  Two years later, she moved to Dublin, Ireland.  From there she moved to London, England and worked for an advertising agency, and taught English as a second language to college students.  She even worked as a food journalist.  But it wasn't until she was a wife and mother, and had been back in the US for several years, that she thought of writing for children.

In 1997, she started writing her first children's book, Seesaw Girl, which was accepted for publication the same year.  It came out in 1999.  She was awarded the Newberry medal in 2002 for A Single Shard, becoming the first Korean American author to win this honor.  In her children's writing career, she has published novels, picture books, poems, and short stories.  Most of her work is historical fiction that focuses on Korean culture and history.

Ms Park now lives in upstate New York with her Irish journalist husband, two kids, and their pets.


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