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

Books by Carolyn Parkhurst