About Me

image_about_loraxLooking for a short bio to read before an Alan Gratz presentation? Use this!

Alan Gratz has wanted to be a writer ever since he was a kid. He went to the University of Tennessee to study creative writing, and ten years and more than sixty-five rejections later he was finally able to get his very first book published. Now Alan is the author of fifteen books for young readers, many of which have won state awards, appeared on the New York Times bestseller list, and been voted their favorite book of the year by students and librarians. You’re going to have a great time today hearing more about the exciting books he’s written, so please help me welcome Mr. Alan Gratz!

Want to know more about Alan? Read on…

Alan Gratz is author of a number of novels for young readers. His first novel, Samurai Shortstop, was named one of the American Library Association’s Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults. His second novel, Something Rotten, was an ALA Quick Pick for Young Adult Readers. His first middle grade novel, The Brooklyn Nine, was one of the ALA’s Top Ten Sports Books for Youth and Top Ten Historical Books for Youth, and his middle grade Holocaust novel Prisoner B-3087 was one of YALSA’s Best Fiction for Young Readers and has won eight state awards. He is also the author of the YA thriller Code of Honor, a YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, the middle grade historical thriller Projekt 1065, and the League of Seven trilogy.

Alan’s 2017 novel Refugee has spent more than half a year on the New York Times bestseller list, and has received numerous awards, including the Sydney Taylor Book Award, the National Jewish Book Award, the Cybils Middle Grade Fiction Award, a Charlotte Huck Award Honor, and a Malka Penn Award for Human Rights Honor. Refugee was also a Global Read Aloud Book for 2018.

Grenade, Alan’s most recent book, about the Battle of Okinawa, debuted at number three on the New York Times bestseller list.

Alan’s short fiction has appeared in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, online at Tor.com, and in the anthologies Half-Minute Horrors and Tomo: Friendship Through Fiction, which benefitted victims of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami.

As the first Artist in Residence at the American School in Japan in 2010, Alan spent six weeks teaching historical fiction-writing to middle school students in Tokyo, and he was the Thurber House Children’s Writer in Residence in 2011, living and writing in James Thurber’s attic for a month while working with young writers from all around the Columbus, Ohio area. In 2017, Alan spent a month as the Writer in Residence at the Jakarta Intercultural School in Jakarta, Indonesia.

In addition to writing plays, magazine articles, and a few episodes of A&E’s City Confidential, Alan has taught catapult-building to middle-schoolers, written more than 6,000 radio commercials, sold other people’s books, lectured at a Czech university, and traveled the galaxy as a space ranger. (One of these, it should be pointed out, is not true.)

Alan was born and raised in Knoxville, Tennessee, home of the 1982 World’s Fair. After a carefree but humid childhood, Alan attended the University of Tennessee, where he earned a College Scholars degree with a specialization in creative writing, and, later, a Master’s degree in English education. He now lives with his wife Wendi and his daughter Jo in Asheville, North Carolina, where he enjoys playing games, eating pizza, and, perhaps not too surprisingly, reading books.