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Volume 26, Number 5 — May 2019

AAME hosts award-winning children’s author at library

Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

By Leslie Grace | A! Magazine for the Arts | March 28, 2018

The Arts Alliance Mountain Empire presents Kimberly Brubaker Bradley as part of its Speaker Series.

Baker speaks at the Bristol Public Library April 10 at 7 p.m. Her latest book is “The War I Finally Won,” her 17th. It is the sequel to Newbery Honor and #1 New York Times bestselling book “The War That Saved My Life.”

She was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 1967. “I loved to read. I was the sort of kid who would skip recess to go talk with my school librarian, but I didn’t know any writers, and I didn’t think it was the sort of job I could have. I loved chemistry, too, and I majored in chemistry in college. I was lucky, though, to go to Smith College, a liberal arts school where I was encouraged to learn everything that interested me, and I took lots of writing classes, and, fortunately, a class on children’s literature taught by none other than Newbery medalist Patricia MacLachlan. She and Jane Yolen, who ran a writer’s group nearby, encouraged my very early (and very bad!) efforts,” she says.

She married her high-school sweetheart, and they both started medical school. She dropped out after six weeks, which she says was “an excellent decision even though it took a lot of courage at the time. I realized I really wanted to be a writer. My husband stayed in medical school, another excellent decision, and for a while I worked as a research chemist and wrote stories late at night and on weekends.

By the time I was pregnant with our son, I was getting enough freelance and ghostwriting jobs that I could quit being a chemist. A few years later, my husband finished his training to become an eye surgeon, and we moved so he could join a practice in Bristol, Tennessee. She and her husband still live in Bristol on a 52-acre farm with an assortment of horses, a dog and cats.

Topics: Literature