Sunday, 3 December 2017

DECEMBER'S AUTHOR by Sharon Tregenza



Avi was born Edward Irving Wortis on 23rd December 1937 in Brooklyn, New York. His father Joseph was a psychiatrist and his mother Helen a social worker. Two of Avi's grandfathers were writers and one grandmother was a playwright. 

He also grew up among artists, musicians and writers. He says: Every night I was read to. Every Friday we were taken to the library. I always received at least one book for my birthday. I had a collection of books. I loved to read still do.

He wrote a few bad plays but when his eldest son, Shaun, was born, he began writing for kids. His first book was published in 1970 and he's now written over seventy-five for all ages and in different genres. Many of them have won prestigious prizes.

Winner of the Newberry Medal 2003


1. His twin sister gave him the nickname Avi when he was only one year old. It stuck.

2. His cousin is the actor Alan Arkin.

3. Two of his sons are in the rock music business. The third is a journalist.

4. Even though he is a prolific writer he suffers from dysgraphia. 

He's a shining example of what perseverance and passion can accomplish.

This multi-award winning author says he identifies with children who are lonely, frustrated and isolated. "I always ask to speak to the learning disabled kids. They come in slowly, waiting for yet another pep talk, more instructions. Eyes cast down, they won't even look at me. Their anger glows. I don't say a thing. I lay out pages of my copy-edited manuscripts, which are covered in red marks. 'Look here,' I say, 'see that spelling mistake. There, another spelling mistake. Looks like I forgot to put a capital letter there. Oops! Letter reversal.' Their eyes lift. They are listening. And I am among friends.



Joan Lennon said...

I don't know his work, but that last quote is so wonderful! Thanks for flagging him up.

Sharon Tregenza said...

Hi Joan, it's lovely isn't it. I have to admit I haven't read his work either but I will now.

Sue Purkiss said...

Never heard of him either - but as Joan says, that's a lovely quote.

Sharon Tregenza said...

I'd heard of him - he's won several of the big children's book prizes. It's always good to hear of someone overcoming difficulties to achieve what they want in life, isn't it.