Jane Yolen

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Jane Yolen
Yolen at the 2011 New York Comic Con
Yolen at the 2011 New York Comic Con
BornJane Hyatt Yolen
(1939-02-11) February 11, 1939 (age 79)
New York City, US
OccupationWriter, poet
NationalityAmerican
Alma materSmith College
Period1960s–present
GenreFantasy, science fiction, folklore, children's fiction
Notable awardsWorld Fantasy Award for Life Achievement
2009
Website
janeyolen.com

Jane Hyatt Yolen (born February 11, 1939) is an American writer of fantasy, science fiction, and children's books. She is the author or editor of more than 365 books, of which the best known is The Devil's Arithmetic, a Holocaust novella.[1] Her other works include the Nebula Award-winning short story Sister Emily's Lightship, the novelette Lost Girls, Owl Moon, The Emperor and the Kite, the Commander Toad series and How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight.[2] She gave the lecture for the 1989 Alice G. Smith Lecture, the inaugural year for the series. This lecture series is held at the University of South Florida School of Information "to honor the memory of its first director, Alice Gullen Smith, known for her work with youth and bibliotherapy." In 2012 she became the first woman to give the Andrew Lang lecture.[3]

Early life[edit]

Jane Hyatt Yolen was born on February 11, 1939 at Beth Israel Medical Center in Manhattan. She is the first child of Isabell Berlin Yolen, a psychiatric social worker who became a full-time mother and homemaker upon Yolen's birth, and Will Hyatt Yolen, a journalist who wrote columns at the time for New York newspapers. Isabell also did volunteer work, and wrote short stories in her spare time. However, she was not able to sell them. Because the Hyatts, the family of Yolen's grandmother, Mina Hyatt Yolen, only had girls, a number of the children of Yolen's generation were given their last name as a middle name in order to perpetuate it.[4]

When Yolen was barely one year old, the family moved to California to accommodate Will's new job working for Hollywood film studios, doing publicity on films such as American Tragedy and Knut Rockne. The family moved back to New York City prior to the birth of Yolen's brother, Steve. When Will joined the Army as a Second Lieutenant to fight in England during World War II, Yolen, her mother and brother lived with her grandparents, Danny and Dan, in Newport News, Virginia. After the war, the family moved back to Manhattan, living on Central Park West and 97th Street until Yolen turned 13. She attended PS 93, where she enjoyed writing and singing, and became friends with future radio presenter Susan Stamberg. She also engaged writing by creating a newspaper for her apartment with her brother that she sold for five cents a copy. She was accepted to Music and Art High School. During the summer prior to that semester, she attended a Vermont summer camp, which was her first involvement with the Society of Friends (Quakers). Her family also moved to a large ranch house in Westport, Connecticut, where she attended Bedford Junior high for ninth grade, and then Staples High School, where she sang in the choir, was captain of the girls' basketball team, was News Editor of the school paper, and vice president of the Spanish and Latin Clubs. After graduating she attended Smith College. Though she says she did not have the highest grades, she wrote a book of poetry, was President of the Press Board, and participated in school musicals and other shows as an actress and by writing song lyrics. After graduating she moved back to New York City.[4]

Career[edit]

Although Yolen considered herself a poet, journalist and nonfiction writer, she became a children's book writer. Her first published book was Pirates in Petticoats, which was published on her 22nd birthday.[4]

Year's Best Science Fiction and Fantasy for Teens, Favorite Folktales From Around the World, Xanadu and Xanadu 2 are among the works that she has edited.

Her book Naming Liberty, tells the story of a Russian girl and Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, the designer of the Statue of Liberty.[1]

She has co-written three books with her son, the writer and musician Adam Stemple, Pay the Piper and Troll Bridge, both part of the Rock 'n' Roll Fairy Tale series, and Crow Not Crow coming out in fall 2018 from Cornell Lab Publishing Group.[5] She also wrote lyrics for the song "Robin's Complaint," recorded on the 1994 album Antler Dance by Stemple's band Boiled in Lead.[6]

Regarding the similarities between her novel Wizard's Hall, and the Harry Potter series, Yolen has commented on J.K. Rowling, the author of that series:

I'm pretty sure she never read my book. We were both using fantasy tropes — the wizard school, the pictures on the wall that move. I happen to have a hero whose name was Henry, not Harry. He also had a red-headed best friend and a girl who was also his best friend — though my girl was black, not white. And there was a wicked wizard who was trying to destroy the school, who was once a teacher at the school. But those are all fantasy tropes ...There's even a book that came out way before hers where children go off to a witch school or a wizard school by going on a mysterious train that no one else can see except the kids, at a major British train station — I don’t know if it was Victoria Station or King's Cross. These things are out there ...This is not new."[3]

Along with her book on craft, Take Joy: A Book for Writers, Yolen is often attributed with the advice for being a writer: BIC - butt in chair.

Personal life[edit]

In 1962, Yolen married David W. Stemple. They had three children and six grandchildren. Stemple died in March 2006. Yolen lives in Western Massachusetts next door to her daughter, Heidi. She also owns a house in Scotland, where she lives for about four months each year.[4]

Awards[edit]

Nominations[edit]

  • 1984 World Fantasy Award for Anthology/Collection (for Tales of Wonder)[2]
  • 1986 World Fantasy Award for Anthology/Collection (for Dragonfield and Other Stories)[2]
  • 1987 World Fantasy Award for Anthology/Collection (for Merlin's Booke)[2]
  • 1989 World Fantasy Award for Best Novella (for Briar Rose)[2]
  • 1993 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel (for The Devil's Arithmetic)[2]

Bibliography[edit]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "A Life in Books: Jane Yolen". The Daily Beast. May 24, 2008. Archived from the original on 14 January 2012. Retrieved 10 August 2018.[clarification needed]
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Award Winners & Nominees [1975 to present]". World Fantasy Convention. Archived from the original on December 1, 2010. Retrieved September 24, 2013.
  3. ^ a b Adams, John Joseph; Barr Kirtley, David (January 23, 2013). "Author Jane Yolen Talks Book Banning and Harry Potter". Wired.
  4. ^ a b c d Yolen, Jane. "A Short Biography". janeyolen.com. Retrieved March 13, 2013.
  5. ^ [1][permanent dead link]
  6. ^ Lipsig, Chuck (17 January 2011). "Boiled in Lead: The Not Quite Complete Recordings". Green Man Review. Archived from the original on 21 January 2011. Retrieved 26 April 2015.
  7. ^ "Regina Medal" Archived April 27, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.. Catholic Library Association. Retrieved June 11, 2013.
  8. ^ Carpan, Carolyn (2005). Jane Yolen. Infobase Publishing (Who Wrote That? series). ISBN 9780791086605. p. 112. Archived at Google Books. Retrieved June 11, 2013.
  9. ^ a b "Jane Yolen". Science Fiction Awards Database (sfadb.com). Mark R. Kelly and the Locus Science Fiction Foundation. 2012–2013. September 25, 2013.
  10. ^ "SFWA Announces Newest Damon Knight Grand Master – Jane Yolen". SFWA. November 29, 2016. Retrieved November 29, 2016.

External links[edit]