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Carolyn Parkhurst

Biography

Carolyn Parkhurst

The first thing I
ever wrote is a story I dictated to my mother when I was three
years old. It was called "The Table Family," and it was
about...well, a family of tables. They had some conflicts with a
family of leaves, and then they all went shopping in cars that
could drive themselves. The plotting was a little erratic, but
overall, it wasn't a bad story. I think we could all learn a little
something from the way the tables and the leaves learned to live in
harmony.

I grew up in Waltham, Massachusetts. I was an only child, so I
spent a lot of time on my own. I read a lot and made up stories. I
loved the Choose Your Own Adventure series of books, as well as
Roald Dahl and Judy Blume. My first published story was called "I
Am a Museum Skeleton"; it won honorable mention in a children's
Halloween contest in a local newspaper. It was about...well, a
skeleton in a museum. I think I've gotten better at coming up with
interesting titles, if nothing else.

When I was fifteen, I managed to get a job writing record reviews
for a magazine called "Star Hits." It was fun to get free records
and to see my name in print, but no fifteen-year-old should have
this kind of power. Now that I've been on the receiving end of a
few reviews, I feel a little regretful about some of the harsh
things I said. (Timbuk 3, if you're reading this, I'm very, very
sorry I called your album "cornpone sludge.")

I majored in English at Wesleyan University, which I loved. After
college, I worked in a bookstore for three years, then got an
M.F.A. in creative writing from American University. I married my
husband in 1998; our son was born in January, 2002, literally the
day after I finished writing THE DOGS OF BABEL. We live in
Washington, D.C. I only wish we had cars that drove
themselves.

Some of my favorite books are THE VIRGIN SUICIDES by Jeffrey
Eugenides, JAZZ by Toni Morrison, THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF
KAVALIER AND CLAY by Michael Chabon, MAMA DAY by Gloria Naylor, and
THEY WHISPER by Robert Olen Butler. My favorite websites are The
Onion, TopFive.com and Television without Pity.

Carolyn Parkhurst