My Biography

It seems like I've been writing since birth! I started writing poems before I got to school. I wrote the class musical in first grade — both words and music. It was about a bunch of vegetables who got together in a salad. I played the chief carrot!

While I was in junior high, I wrote an entire essay in rhyme about manufacturing in New York State. In high school, I won a Scholastic poetry contest. In college, I wrote newspaper articles and songs.

Then, on my 21st birthday, I sold my first book. It was a nonfiction book about women pirates — Pirates in Petticoats. After that, I was a book writer for good.

I've also been an editor, a teacher, a storyteller, a critic, a songwriter for rock groups and folk singers — as well as a mother and now a grandmother. I've been married for 35 years to Dr. David Stemple, who is the chairman of a university computer science department.

Despite this, I only started using a computer for writing a few years ago! Before then, I wrote on a typewriter, endlessly revising. My friends call it gem polishing. But I remember something the great poet John Ciardi once said — that a poem is never finished, just abandoned. I am that way with everything I write. I just keep going over and over and over until someone yanks it out of my hands! I've written more than 200 books.

Jane Yolen was interviewed by users. Click here for the transcript of that interview.