Jeff Kinney

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Jeff Kinney
Kinney in November 2011
Kinney in November 2011
BornJeffrey Patrick Kinney
(1971-02-19) February 19, 1971 (age 52)
Fort Washington, Maryland, U.S.
  • Author
  • cartoonist
  • game designer
  • producer
  • actor
EducationUniversity of Maryland, College Park (BA)
Julie Kinney
(m. 2003)
Writing career
GenreChildren's novels, realistic fiction, satire, comedy
  • Novels
  • films
Notable worksDiary of a Wimpy Kid

Jeffrey Patrick Kinney (born February 19, 1971)[1] is an American author and cartoonist, best known as the creator of the children's book series Diary of a Wimpy Kid. He also created the child-oriented website Poptropica.

Early life[edit]

Jeff Kinney was born and raised in Fort Washington, Maryland. Kinney attended Potomac Landing Elementary School and later Bishop McNamara High School, where he graduated in 1989. He has an older brother and sister, and a younger brother.[2] He is of Irish descent.[3] He attended the University of Maryland, College Park in the early 1990s. It was in college that Kinney created a popular comic strip, Igdoof, which ran in the school student newspaper, The Diamondback.[4] Kinney graduated from the University of Maryland in 1993, originally majoring in computer science but switching to criminal justice in order to have more time to work on his comic.[5] In 2021 he was inducted into Omicron Delta Kappa as an alumnus of the University of Maryland.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid book series[edit]

In January 1998, Kinney brought up the idea of a middle-school weakling named Greg Heffley, who writes illustrated stories about his personal life. In May 2004, FunBrain and Jeff Kinney released an online version of the story, titled Diary of a Wimpy Kid. The website made daily entries until June 2005.[6] He worked on his book for almost eight years, before showing it to a publisher in New York City, U.S.

In February 2006, during the New York Comic Con, Jeff signed a multi-book deal with publisher Harry N. Abrams, Inc., to turn Diary of a Wimpy Kid into a print series.[7]

The book became an instant hit, with the online version receiving about 20 million views as of 2007. When many online readers requested a printed version, Kinney agreed, and in April 2007, Diary of a Wimpy Kid was published.[6] To date, 19 Wimpy Kid books have been released, including a movie diary and a Do-It-Yourself Book, and a biography that Greg’s best friend Rowley Jefferson wrote.[8] In April 2009, TIME named Kinney one of The World's Most Influential People.[9] In 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, and 2016 the series won a Nickelodeon Kids Choice Award for Favorite Book.[10] The series is still ongoing.

Professional work[edit]

jeff kinney and his family members
Kinney at a book signing event in Israel, 2016

Kinney works full-time as a writer and illustrator. He also created the kid-friendly website Poptropica which includes two islands called "Wimpy Wonderland" and "Wimpy Boardwalk", where the Diary of a Wimpy Kid characters and events are featured in the Poptropica universe.[11]

Over 275 million copies of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books have sold globally as of 2023 [12] and the series was developed into feature films for which Kinney served as executive producer.

In May 2015, Kinney and his wife Julie opened "An Unlikely Story," a local bookstore and cafe in Plainville, Massachusetts.[13] Kinney advocates that kids should spend time reading as an alternative to screen time.[14]

Kinney guest-hosted 10 episodes of the 10th season of WGBH local quiz bowl production High School Quiz Show while regular host Billy Costa was away on a special assignment. Kinney hosted the second half of the first-round games, the quarter-finals, and the semi-finals, while Costa hosted the first half of the first-round games and returned to Boston in time for the finals.[15]

Personal life[edit]

On December 14, 2003, Jeff Kinney married Julie Kinney. They have two sons together.[16] He currently lives in Plainville, Massachusetts.[17] He is Catholic.[18]

In June 2020 when Manny, a character he created in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, became an internet meme relating to the protests arising from the murder of George Floyd, Kinney expressed a distaste for the sensation, stating, "I don't like it. The Black Lives Matter movement needs to be taken seriously... I think that assigning a cartoon character to (the movement) trivializes it."[19]


Diary of a Wimpy Kid[edit]

  1. Diary of a Wimpy Kid (April 1, 2007)
  2. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules (February 1, 2008)
  3. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw (January 13, 2009)
  4. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days (October 12, 2009)
  5. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth (November 9, 2010)
  6. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever (November 15, 2011)
  7. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel (November 13, 2012)
  8. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck (November 5, 2013)
  9. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul (November 4, 2014)
  10. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Old School (November 3, 2015)
  11. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Double Down (November 1, 2016)
  12. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Getaway (November 7, 2017)
  13. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Meltdown (October 30, 2018)
  14. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Wrecking Ball (November 5, 2019)
  15. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Deep End (October 27, 2020)
  16. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Big Shot (October 26, 2021)
  17. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Diper Överlöde (October 25, 2022)
  18. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: No Brainer (October 24, 2023)

Rowley Jefferson[edit]

  1. Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid: Rowley Jefferson's Journal (April 9, 2019)
  2. Rowley Jefferson's Awesome Friendly Adventure (August 4, 2020)
  3. Rowley Jefferson's Awesome Friendly Spooky Stories (March 16, 2021)

Supplementary books[edit]

  1. Diary of a Wimpy Kid Do-It-Yourself-Book (October 1, 2008)
  2. The Wimpy Kid Movie Diary (Original: March 16, 2010, 1st Revised Edition: February 15, 2011, 2nd Revised Edition: June 26, 2012)
  3. The Wimpy Kid Do-It-Yourself-Book (May 10, 2011)
  4. Wimpy Kid Blank Journal (October 8, 2013)
  5. Diary of a Wimpy Kid Writer’s Notebook (October 8, 2013)
  6. The Wimpy Kid Movie Diary: The Next Chapter (May 9, 2017)


Year Film Screenwriter Producer Actor Role Notes
2010 Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2010) No Executive No Based on his novel "Diary of a Wimpy Kid"
2011 Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules (2011) No Executive Yes Mr. Hills (Cameo) Based on his novel "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules" and "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw"
2012 Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days No Executive Yes Mr. Hills Based on his novels "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw" and "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days"
2017 Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul Yes Executive Uncredited Owner of a booth convention (cameo) Based on his novel "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul"
2021 Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2021) Yes Yes No

Based on his novel "Diary of a Wimpy Kid"

2022 Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules (2022) Yes Yes No

Based on his novel "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules"

2023 Diary of a Wimpy Kid Christmas: Cabin Fever Yes Yes No

Based on his novel "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever"

The books have been adapted into a film series.

A film based on the first book was released on March 19, 2010.[20] It was produced by 20th Century Fox and directed by Thor Freudenthal. The film starred Zachary Gordon as Greg Heffley,[21] Robert Capron as Rowley Jefferson, Rachael Harris as Susan Heffley, Steve Zahn as Frank Heffley, Devon Bostick as Rodrick Heffley, Connor and Owen Fielding as Manny Heffley, Chloë Grace Moretz as a new character named Angie Steadman, Grayson Russell as Fregley, Laine MacNeil as Patty Farrell, and Karan Brar as Chirag Gupta.[22][23]

A second film, based on Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules, was released on March 25, 2011. Zachary Gordon returned as Greg Heffley.[24] Steve Zahn (Frank Heffley) and Rachael Harris (Susan Heffley) also returned. The film was directed by David Bowers and the screenplay was written by Gabe Sachs and Jeff Judah. Some new cast members who appeared in the film included Peyton List as Holly Hills among others. Kinney himself appeared in the film in a cameo role as Holly's father.[25] He would later reprise the role in the third film, Dog Days, which was released in 2012 and combines The Last Straw and Dog Days.

A fourth film, based on The Long Haul, was announced by Kinney via Twitter in April 2016. It was released on May 19, 2017, featuring an entirely new cast. Jeff Kinney also cameos in the film as the owner of a booth at a convention.


  1. ^ Library of Congress. "Kinney, Jeff - LC Linked Data Service: Authorities and Vocabularies". Retrieved 2022-04-18.
  2. ^ McGrath, Nick (December 2012). "Jeff Kinney: 'People ask me, is Greg really you?'". The Guardian.
  3. ^ "An-mhaith! Wimpy kid author thrilled by Irish version". RTÉ. 2017-05-25.
  4. ^ Leff, Lisa (1994-02-03). "'IGDOOF' TAKES ON THE WORLD". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2020-04-16.
  5. ^ Gunderson, Megan M. (2012). Jeff Kinney. Edina, Minn.: ABDO Pub. Co. ISBN 978-1-61787-710-0. OCLC 767670415.
  6. ^ a b "Diary of a Wimpy Kid". Funbrain. Family Education Network. Retrieved 5 March 2011.
  7. ^ Mehegan, David (April 7, 2008). "Story of the weak". The Boston Globe. Plainville, MA. Retrieved October 1, 2018.
  8. ^ Wimpy Kid | The official website for Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid book series
  9. ^ Simpson, Forrest (April 30, 2009). "The 2009 TIME 100". Time. Retrieved October 1, 2018.
  10. ^ "Kids' Choice Awards 2015: The Complete Winners List". The Hollywood Reporter. March 28, 2015. Retrieved October 1, 2018.
  11. ^ "Family Education Network".
  12. ^ "Wimpy Kid 15 Cover and Title Revealed".
  13. ^ Fiore, Rebecca (May 29, 2015). "'Wimpy Kid' author opens bookstore in Plainville". The Boston Globe. Retrieved October 1, 2018.
  14. ^ "Wimpy Kid Author: I can't get my kids off Fortnite". BBC News. 16 November 2018.
  15. ^ "WGBH Teams with Author Jeff Kinney for "High School Quiz Show: Extra Credit"". Retrieved 2021-10-22.
  16. ^ MONEYBAGS (10 March 2010). "Rodrick Rules (Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series #2)". Barnes & Noble. Archived from the original on 2 December 2011. Retrieved 20 January 2009.
  17. ^ "Author Jeff Kinney biography and book list".
  18. ^ "Wimpy Kid author: I can't get my kids off Fortnite". BBC News. 2018-11-16. Retrieved 2022-08-15.
  19. ^ Ignacio Martinez (29 June 2020). "How 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' became an unlikely Black Lives Matter icon". The Daily Dot. Retrieved 4 November 2022.
  20. ^ "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules – On Double DVD and Blu-ray Now". Retrieved May 7, 2011.
  21. ^ Zachary Gordon cast as "Wimpy Kid" from Reuters. July 24, 2009.
  22. ^ "Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2010)". IMDb. 19 March 2010.
  23. ^ ""Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2010)" on". March 19, 2010. Archived from the original on January 22, 2014. Retrieved May 7, 2011.
  24. ^ "'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' film sequel planned". LA Times. April 3, 2010. Retrieved April 3, 2010.
  25. ^ Lombardi, Ken (March 25, 2011). ""Wimpy Kid" author Jeff Kinney on surprise success". CBS News. Retrieved September 30, 2018. And this time, the author even got a chance at a surprise cameo as the father of Greg's love interest, Holly Hills (Peyton R. List, "The Sorcerer's Apprentice").

External links[edit]