Writing a bio in the first person always makes me think of those boring people who back you into a corner at a party and tell you about themselves. The worst part is that they invariably situate themselves between you and the chips. I like chips. I like food. I love cooking. And crossword puzzles and cross-country skiing, although I make a point of not trying to do these activities at the same time.
I started writing when I was in my twenties. Never dreamed of becoming an author. Oh, I loved reading, but I had known since I was eleven that I was going to be a world-famous architect when I grew up, so I never took my writing very seriously. Besides, I failed high school English. But the university where I was training to become a world-famous architect thought it might not be such a good idea for me to design buildings into which real people might actually stray by mistake. So I turned to making art, which led to an M.F.A., which is when I realized that if I wasn’t careful, I was going to end up being offered a teaching job! So I wrote a novel very quickly.
Winning the $50,000 Seal First Novel Award in 1980 convinced me to put aside my designing, acting, singing, painting, teaching career and take writing seriously. Twenty-six books later, I’m still doing it and still loving it.
I’ve won lots of awards. Oh, here -- can I get you the chips? You just munch away and I’ll tell you all about my honors: a couple of Governor General’s Literary Awards in Canada; three Canadian Library Association Prizes; the Arthur Ellis Award -- that’s from the Crime Writers of Canada; the Edgar Award for Young Adult Mystery from the Mystery Writers of America; the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award; and I’ve twice been short-listed for the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize in the U.K. . . . Are you feeling woozy yet?
I’ve written three adult novels, but I got over that. I’ve also written a dozen picture books, three collections of short stories, and five novels for older readers, including A Thief in the House of Memory. The last novel before that was The Boy in the Burning House. Notice the house thing? You see? I’m still obsessed with architecture. The next title almost had a house in it, but I changed it to Rex Zero and the End of the World. It’s pretty funny, I think, considering it’s about the end of the world. I’ve already written the sequel, Rex Zero, King of Nothing.
Oh, don’t go. Please! I haven’t told you about my three very talented grownup kids and my wonderful wife and the cats and the seventy-six acres of land just outside of Perth, Ontario. I’ve got lots of pictures. Some other time? Okay.
Tim Wynne-Jones lives near Perth, Ontario, with his wife, Amanda, in a house he designed himself.
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