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Kate DiCamillo

As a child

Kate was often ill as a child. She says, “You name it, I got it. Pneumonia, impetigo, pink eye, scarlet fever, mumps, measles, chicken pox. And because I got it, I missed a lot of school and spent a lot of time at home by myself. I am grateful for all that illness. Because I was alone for so much of the day, I learnt to entertain myself. I lived in my imagination. And I lived in books. For a writer, it was an excellent beginning.”

As an adult

Kate studied English at the University of Florida, and then worked on a whole series of very different jobs. She says, “I worked at Walt Disney World (telling people to watch their step), I sold tickets at Circus World (I did not have to dress like a clown), I called bingo at a campground, and grew plants in a greenhouse. I cleaned bathrooms (I wasn’t very good at it) and sold advertising (I was even worse at that).” But all the while Kate she knew that what she really wanted to do was write.

As an artist

When Kate was almost thirty years old, she had what she calls “a small epiphany: if I wanted to tell stories, I was going to have to do the hard work of sitting down and writing them. I started to write. For six years I wrote and wrote and wrote. And most of what I wrote was bad. But here is the beautiful thing about doing something every day; you are bound to get better. And this is true, even for someone as dense as me.” When Kate was thirty-five years old, she sold her first short story, This is Me, Lona Bretweiser, Leaving the Amusement Park of Love. That same year, she sold her first novel, Because of Winn-Dixie. “Now,” Kate says, “I feel as if I have been extraordinarily blessed; I tell stories for a living.” Kate's The Tale of Despereaux won the prestigious Newbery Medal in 2004, and she won the honour again ten years later with Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures. Later books include the New York Times number one bestseller The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.

Things you didn't know about Kate DiCamillo

  1. She doesn’t know how to cook.
  2. She refuses to learn how to cook.
  3. She loves to eat.
  4. She is an aunt to a dog named Henry. He is not a good dog.
  5. She is a neat freak.
  6. Her favourite movie is Planes, Trains and Automobiles.
  7. She wanted to be a vet when she grew up.
  8. She has never grown up.
  9. She used to dress up her poodle, Nanette, as a disco dancer.
  10. When unobserved, she likes to dress the aforementioned Henry up in strange outfits.

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