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Nancy Garden
(May 15, 1938 - June 23, 2014) U.S.A.

Nancy Garden

Writer of young adult fiction


Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Nancy Garden spent her childhood years moving frequently with her family, and grew up in New England and New York. These experiences lead to her interest in reading and storytelling as stable pastimes and she started writing pretty early.

Nancy started writing for fun when she was around 8, then, when she was in junior high, high school, college (Columbia University School of Dramatic Arts), and beyond, Nancy wanted to be in theater, and actually was for a time. Acting, directing, lighting design, stage managing - all of theater fascinated her. She did comumnity theater, four seasons of professional summer stock, and a little off-Broadway. To support herself, she also had various odd jobs in offices.

Jobs were hard to find, so Nancy went to Columbia Teachers College and got a masters in speech. She taught for a while, still worked in theater when she could, and continued to write. Then she got a job working for a man who called himself a literary agent but really ran an editorial service. Instead of trying to get books published, he had his staff edit them for their authors. Nancy learned a lot by doing that, and eventually went on to real jobs in legitimate publishing.

She went on writing, though, no matter what else she did or where she was... Her first children's book, Aloysius P. Bookworm, was a collaboration with her best friend, Barbara Seuling, who is now a popular children's book author, illustrator, and writing teacher. Barbara did the pictures, and Nancy did the text. They never had Aloysius published.

In 1971, her first two published books, What Happened in Marston and a nonfiction book called Berlin: City Split in Two, came out. She was working as an editor in New York then, but soon afterward, with her partner, Sandy, moved to Massachusetts, and got a job as an editor in Boston. After a few years there, Nancy also taught an adult education course in writing.

Now Nancy writes as close to full time as possible, teaches a correspondence school course in writing, visits schools to talk about books and writing, and makes speeches about writing and about censorship. Her books have appeared on many lists of "best" and recommended books, and in 2001, Nancy received the Robert B. Downs Intellectual Freedom Award for her work defending my novel Annie On My Mind from an attempt to ban it from libraries in a Kansas school district, and for her anti-censorship efforts in general.

In January 2003, the Young Adult Library Services Association of the American Library Association gave her the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing books for teens. She continued to indulge those passions from a home she shared with her life partner Sandy in Carlisle, Massachusetts.

Nancy Garden died of a heart attack, aged 76, in Carlisle, Massachusetts.


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