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M.T. Anderson

M.T. Anderson

M. T. Anderson writes: “People write for children for two reasons: Either they have children, or they are children. I’m in the latter category. I loved my childhood, and I write for children so that I can recall it.

“I grew up in a small town surrounded by apple orchards and woods that had grown up where fields once stood. My town was one of the first to oppose the British during the Revolution. I spent my childhood playing in the forest, naming the streams and the valleys formed by quarries. I was not the only one to wander in those woods, and I was always stumbling across weird assemblages of refuse in glades and on hidden paths: automobile chassis overgrown with sweetfern; hideous curtains of unspooled cassette-tape hanging across ravines; a window leaning on an old, burnt washing-machine festooned with yarn. These artifacts arose naturally out of the landscape like story itself. The forest seemed to be bursting with fantasy. The wood led right up to our back door like George Macdonald’s Fairy-Land, but with bikers, keggers, and free-range junkies.

“I didn’t live near many kids and I was socially inept anyway, so my fantasy world was very involved and quite internal. I apparently became a little too dreamy and distracted-so much so that in fifth grade, my teachers became concerned that I was borderline autistic or had some serious learning disability; and my grandmother, seeing me whisper to some imaginary androids in the woods, became convinced that I was possessed by evil spirits. For the next ten years or so, she would regularly exorcise me.

“My love of fantasy became a love of literature. I began to write plays for my friends to put on. When I was about eleven, we did a dramatic version of Beowulf with a giant foam-rubber dragon puppet and lots of gruesome alliteration. It was supposed to be Anglo-Saxon. Around the same time, we did A Midsummer Night’s Fever, which was supposed to be A Midsummer Night’s Dream recast with John Travolta. I don’t remember much about it except that Puck sang in a high-pitched voice like the Bee Gees.

“There’s not much more to tell. The important thing to do if you want to be a writer is first of all to read — read everything — romance novels, nineteenth century novels, Sanskrit prayers, Greek epics, Chinese poetry, installation instructions for plumbing, trade magazines for pet shop owners — everything — and second of all, to write. Staring into the woods dreaming, after all, will only get you so far.”

M. T. Anderson teaches at Vermont College; he is the fiction editor for 3rd bed, a journal devoted to surreal and absurdist literature.

Biography courtesy of the National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance .

Books by this author

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M.T. Anderson
Age Level:
YA
Genre:
Fiction, Science fiction / Dystopian
Published:
2004
Jasper Dash and the Flame-Pits of Delaware

Jasper Dash and the Flame-Pits of Delaware

M.T. Anderson
Age Level:
Middle Grade
Genre:
Fiction, Mystery / Crime
Published:
2007
The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume I: The Pox Party

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol. 1: The Pox Party

M.T. Anderson
Age Level:
YA
Genre:
Historical Fiction
Published:
2006
The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume II: The Kingdom on the Waves

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume II: The Kingdom on the Waves

M.T. Anderson
Age Level:
YA
Genre:
Historical Fiction
Published:
2008

The Game of Sunken Places

M.T. Anderson
Age Level:
Middle Grade
Published:
2014

Thirsty

M.T. Anderson
Published:
2017

Whales on Stilts

M.T. Anderson
Age Level:
Middle Grade
Published:
2010