Christopher Paul Curtis grew up in Flint, Michigan. After high school, he worked for thirteen years on the assembly line at the Fisher Body Plant before he became a writer.

Curtis says his wife had more faith in his writing than he did, and urged him to take a year off work to write a book. He did. When it was done, not knowing who to send it to, he submitted The Watsons Go To Birmingham 1963 to a literature contest at Delacorte Press. It didn't win, because it didn't fit the contest's requirements, but they published it anyway. It promptly won the Newbery Honor and the Corretta Scott King Honor.

Both Curtis's novels deal with the civil rights movement - but not in a boring way. He knows how to draw kids into a story by creating believable, funny people trying to learn how to live together in relative peace.

Curtis has written an as-yet-unpublished book titled Mr. Chickee's Funny Money. He likes Toni Morrison, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., and Zora Neal Hurston. His daughter is eight and she listend to Steely Dan.


"Be patient. Fiction takes a long time."

"...with The Watsons, there’s the occasional "hell" and "damn," and I think "ass" is in there one time – that’s upset some people. When I go and talk to kids, you can always tell which one has been prodded by their parents. A hand will come up and the kid will say, "Why are there swear words in that book?"
I ask, "Are there any words in there you haven’t heard? Do you hear those words on the playground?"
And they say, "Yeah."
When you write, you try to tell the truth."


Bud, Not Buddy (2000 Newbery Award)

The Watsons Go To Birmingham 1963

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