Kelly Barnhill biography

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Kelly Barnhill

Kelly Barnhill

Kelly Barnhill Biography

Kelly Barnhill writes books. It is a strange job, but, to be fair, she is a strange woman, so perhaps it makes sense. She is a former teacher, former bartender, former waitress, former activist, former park ranger, former secretary, former janitor and former church-guitar-player. The sum of these experiences have prepared her for exactly nothing – save for the telling of stories, which she has been doing quite happily for some time now.

She received the Newbery Medal in 2017, as well as fellowships from the Jerome Foundation and the Minnesota State Arts Board, and the McKnight Foundation. She is the winner of the World Fantasy Award, the Parents Choice Gold Award, the Texas Library Association Bluebonnet, and a Charlotte Huck Honor. She also was a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award, the Andre Norton Award and the PEN/USA literary prize. She has been on the New York Times bestseller list for a bunch of weeks now, as well as the Indie Besteller list. She is the author of the novels The Girl Who Drank the Moon, The Witch's Boy, Iron Hearted Violet and The Mostly True Story of Jack, as well as the novella, The Unlicensed Magician. She has also written a bunch of grownup-ish short stories of various descriptions (Literary, Speculative, Odd and Otherwise) that have appeared in a variety of venues, as well as essays, poetry, and a small collection of very strange nonfiction books for elementary students. She is a teaching artist with COMPAS, a statewide community arts program.

She has three completely fabulous children, an astonishingly talented husband (his name is Ted Barnhill and he designs beautiful and sustainable houses – including the one where her family lives – and he generally rules). She also teaches, freelances, volunteers, runs, canoes, camps, gardens (though badly), and hikes into the wilderness for days and days. She also bakes pie. It's a pretty good life, actually.

Kelly Barnhill's website

This bio was last updated on 04/15/2022. In a perfect world, we would like to keep all of BookBrowse's biographies up to date, but with many thousands of lives to keep track of it's simply impossible to do. So, if the date of this bio is not recent, you may wish to do an internet search for a more current source, such as the author's website or social media presence. If you are the author or publisher and would like us to update this biography, send the complete text and we will replace the old with the new.

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Interview

In a spirited interview with author John Brown, Kelly Barnhill talks about her debut novel, The Mostly True Story of Jack, and tells readers what keeps her coming back to the page.

I have to start by saying I love the title of your book. It raises all sorts of questions in my mind. Was that part of the inspiration of the story or was it something you had to arrive at after a lot of hard work?

On the first question: Oh my. Titles. This title is the culmination of a whole lot of blood, sweat and tears. Okay, that's not entirely true. Neither blood nor sweat, just tears - mine specifically. This book was originally called The Boy Without A Face, then Jack Be Quick, then The Curious Face in the Cornfield, then Uprooted, then the House at the Far Edge of Town, then the A Child of Earth and Magic, then... oh lord, I can hardly remember.

The thing is, I typically don't have a problem naming pieces. The title usually comes when I've untangled the first knot of text and the beating heart of the story is just starting to assert itself. This time, not so much. I was stymied from the beginning. I asked my kids their opinions, my agent, my agent's assistant, every editor I've ever heard of. I asked my students, my Sunday School kids, kids on the block, kids at the park.

But that's the thing when you have a title that doesn't work - no amount of wanting it to be right will make it right. So I was bound to ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Kelly Barnhill at BookBrowse
When Women Were Dragons jacket Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories jacket The Girl Who Drank the Moon jacket The Mostly True Story of Jack jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Kelly Barnhill but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
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