Francesca Lia Block

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Francesca Lia Block
Francesca Lia Block.jpg
Francesca Lia Block
Born (1962-12-03) December 3, 1962 (age 54)
Los Angeles, California, United States
Occupation Writer
Language English
Period 1989–present
Notable awards Margaret Edwards Award

Francesca Lia Block (born December 3, 1962) is an American writer of adult and young-adult literature: fiction, short stories, screenplays and poetry. She is known best for the Weetzie Bat series[1] — named after its first installment and her first novel, which she wrote while a UC Berkeley student, Weetzie Bat (HarperColins, 1989). She is known for her use of imagery, especially in describing the city of Los Angeles.[2] One New York Times Book Review critic said, "Block writes about the real Los Angeles better than anyone since Raymond Chandler."[3] She won the Margaret Edwards Award from the American Library Association in 2005 for her contribution in writing for teens.[4]


Block was born in Los Angeles to a poet and a painter, their creativity an obvious influence on her writing. Another influence was her childhood love of Greek mythology and fairy tales. She left her birth city only to attend the UC Berkeley. She has often professed her love of Los Angeles, calling it a "jasmine-scented, jacaranda-purple, neon sparked city," which she has nicknamed in her books "Shangri-LA." She currently lives in Los Angeles with her daughter, Jasmine Angelina (about whom she wrote her book Guarding the Moon), her son Samuel Alexander, and her two dogs: a springer spaniel named Vincent Van Go Go Boots and a beagle mix named Thumper.

While perhaps best known for her novels, Block is also a lifelong writer of poetry. Her first two books, Moon Harvest (1978) and Season of Green (1979), were small-press illustrated poetry collections, now out of print.[5] Since then, she has released several standalone collections of poetry, as well as incorporating poetry and lyrics into many of her novels.

She is currently[when?] developing an original show for MTV and writing the screenplay which will bring Weetzie Bat to the cinema. Block's work has been translated into several different languages, including French, Italian, German, and Japanese, and is published around the world.[5]

Block is a member of the Authors Guild, Authors League of America, and the Writers Guild of America.

She has collaborated with artistic photographer Suza Scalora to write Evidence of Angels, released in 2009.

Awards and nominations[edit]

The ALA Margaret A. Edwards Award recognizes one writer and a particular body of work for "significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature". Block won the annual award in 2005 when the panel cited the first five Weetzie Bat novellas, published from 1989 to 1995.[4] The Chair observed that "Block's work has been considered ground-breaking for its magical realism and bringing alive the L.A. scene. Block takes traditional folklore archetypes and translates them for contemporary teens with her inventive use of lyrical language, transforming gritty urban environments into a funky fairy tale dream world."[4]

  • 1995: Am I Blue?: Coming Out From the Silence, an anthology to which Block contributed won both the Stonewall Book Award for Literature and the Lambda Literary Award for Young Adult/Children's Book
  • 1996: Baby Be-Bop was nominated for the Lambda Literary Award for Young Adult/Children's Book
  • 1997: When I Was Your Age: Original Stories about Growing Up, edited by Amy Ehrlich, an anthology to which Block contributed, was a runner-up for the Judy Lopez Memorial Award for Children's Literature[6]
  • 2001: Dangerous Angels was inducted into the Gaylactic Spectrum Awards Hall of Fame
  • 2007: Firebirds Rising: An Anthology of Original Science Fiction and Fantasy was nominated for the World Fantasy Award for Best Anthology
  • 2009: Weetzie Bat won the Phoenix Award from the Children's Literature Association as the best English-language children's book that did not win a major award when it was originally published twenty years earlier. It is named for the mythical bird phoenix, which is reborn from its ashes, to suggest the book's rise from obscurity.[7]

Baby Be-Bop controversy[edit]

In June 2009, Block's book Baby Be-bop, which deals with the life of a gay teenager, was part of a controversy in West Bend, Wisconsin, where several parents' groups insisted that the book, among others, be removed from the local public library and publicly burned.[8]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dinitia Smith (2005-05-23). "Writing Frankly, Young-Adult Author Pushes Limits". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-03-17. 
  2. ^ Carolyn Kellogg (2012-03-12). "Francesca Lia Block takes her mortgage woes public". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-03-17. 
  3. ^ Francesca Lia Block (2011-10-25). "Author Francesca Lia Block on Occupy Wall Street: Meditations in the Dark". CNBC. Retrieved 2012-03-17. 
  4. ^ a b c "2005 Margaret A. Edwards Award Winner". Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). American Library Association (ALA).
      "Edwards Award". YALSA. ALA. Retrieved 2013-10-10.
  5. ^ a b "Francesca Lia Block (1962-) Biography - Awards, Honors, Sidelights - Personal, Addresses, Career, Member, Writings, Adaptations". JRank. Retrieved 2014-09-04. 
  6. ^ "Judy Lopez Award Winners". The Judy Lopez Memorial Foundation (
  7. ^ a b "Phoenix Award Brochure 2012"[permanent dead link]. Children's Literature Association. Retrieved 2012-12-11.
    See also the current homepage "Phoenix Award".
  8. ^ Miller, Laura (June 16, 2009). "A teen book burns at the stake: A Christian group hopes to set fire to library copies of Francesca Lia Block's novel about a gay boy coming of age". Salon. Salon Media Group. Retrieved 2009-06-19. 
  9. ^ Francesca Lia Block at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Retrieved 2014-09-04. Select a title to see its linked publication history and general information. Select a particular edition (title) for more data at that level, such as a front cover image or linked contents.

External links[edit]