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Jane Yolen

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Title: Jane Yolen  
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Subject: Robert J. Harris (writer), Mythopoeic Awards, Jim Burke (illustrator), Nebula Award for Best Novel, Armageddon Summer
Collection: 1939 Births, 20Th-Century American Novelists, 20Th-Century Women Writers, 21St-Century American Novelists, 21St-Century Women Writers, American Children's Writers, American Fantasy Writers, American Science Fiction Writers, American Women Novelists, American Women Writers, Jewish American Writers, Living People, Nebula Award Winners, People from Hampshire County, Massachusetts, Rhysling Award for Best Short Poem Winners, Science Fiction Editors, Smith College Alumni, University of Massachusetts Amherst Alumni, Women Children's Writers, Women Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers, Writers from Massachusetts
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Jane Yolen

Jane Yolen
Yolen at the 2011 New York Comic Con
Born Jane Hyatt Yolen
(1939-02-11) February 11, 1939
New York City, New York, USA
Occupation Writer, poet
Nationality American
Period 1960s–present
Genre Fantasy, science fiction, folklore, children's fiction
Notable awards World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement

Jane Hyatt Yolen (born February 11, 1939) is an American writer of fantasy, science fiction, and children's books. She is the author or editor of more than 280 books, of which the best known is The Devil's Arithmetic, a Holocaust novella.[1] Her other works include the Nebula Award-winning short story Sister Emily's Lightship, the novelette Lost Girls, Owl Moon, The Emperor and the Kite, the Commander Toad series and How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight.[2] She gave the lecture for the 1989 Alice G. Smith Lecture, the inaugural year for the series. This lecture series is held at the University of South Florida School of Information "to honor the memory of its first director, Alice Gullen Smith, known for her work with youth and bibliotherapy." In 2012 she became the first woman to give the Andrew Lang lecture.[3]


  • Early life 1
  • Career 2
  • Personal life 3
  • Awards 4
    • Nominations 4.1
  • Selected works 5
    • The Pit Dragon Chronicles 5.1
    • Selected novels and books 5.2
    • Selected films 5.3
    • Selected novellas and novelettes 5.4
    • Selected poems 5.5
    • Short story anthologies edited by Jane Yolen 5.6
    • Folklore collection edited by Jane Yolen 5.7
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Early life

Jane Hyatt Yolen was born February 11, 1939 at Beth Israel Medical Center in Manhattan, the first child of Isabell Berlin Yolen, a psychiatric social worker who became a homemaker upon Yolen's birth, and Will Hyatt Yolen, a journalist who wrote columns at the time for New York newspapers. Isabell also did volunteer work, and wrote short stories in her spare time, but they did not sell. Because the Hyatts, the family of Yolen's grandmother, Mina Hyatt Yolen's, only had girls, a number of the children of Yolen's generation were given their last name as a middle name in order to perpetuate it, including Yolen's brother, Steven Hyatt Yolen, who was born three and a half years later.[4]

When Yolen was barely one year old, the family moved to California to accommodate Will's new job working for Hollywood film studios, doing publicity on films such as American Tragedy and Knut Rockne. The family moved back to New York City prior to the birth of Yolen's brother, Steve. When Will joined the Army as a Second Lieutenant to fight in England during World War II, Yolen, her mother and brother lived with her grandparents, Danny and Dan, in Newport News, Virginia. After the war, the family moved back to Manhattan, living on Central Park West and 97th Street until Yolen turned 13. She attended PS 93, where she enjoyed writing and singing, and became friends with future radio presenter Susan Stamberg. She also engaged writing by creating a newspaper for her apartment with her brother that she sold for five cents a copy. She was accepted to Music and Art High School. During the summer prior to that semester, she attended a Vermont summer camp, which was her first involvement with the Society of Friends. Her family also moved to a large ranch house in Westport, Connecticut, where she attended Bedford Junior high for ninth grade, and then Staples High School, where she sang in the choir, was captain of the girls' basketball team, was News Editor of the school paper, and vice president of the Spanish and Latin Clubs. After graduating she attended Smith College. Though she says she did not have the highest grades, she wrote a book of poetry, was President of the Press Board, and participated in school musicals and other shows as an actress and by writing song lyrics. After graduating she moved back to New York City.[4]


Although Yolen considered herself a poet, journalist and nonfiction writer, she became a children's book writer. Her first published book was Pirates in Petticoats, which was published on her 22nd birthday.[4]

Year's Best Science Fiction and Fantasy for Teens, Favorite Folktales From Around the World, Xanadu and Xanadu 2 are among the works that she has edited.

Her book Naming Liberty, tells the story of a Russian girl and Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, the designer of the Statue of Liberty.[1]

She has co-written two books with her son, the writer and musician Adam Stemple, Pay the Piper and Troll Bridge, both part of the Rock 'n' Roll Fairy Tale series.[5] She also wrote lyrics for the song "Robin's Complaint," recorded on the 1994 album Antler Dance by Stemple's band Boiled in Lead.[6]

Regarding the similarities between her novel Wizard's Hall, and the Harry Potter series, Yolen has commented on J.K. Rowling, the author of that series:

"I'm pretty sure she never read my book. We were both using fantasy tropes — the wizard school, the pictures on the wall that move. I happen to have a hero whose name was Henry, not Harry. He also had a red-headed best friend and a girl who was also his best friend — though my girl was black, not white. And there was a wicked wizard who was trying to destroy the school, who was once a teacher at the school. But those are all fantasy tropes ...There's even a book that came out way before hers where children go off to a witch school or a wizard school by going on a mysterious train that no one else can see except the kids, at a major British train station — I don’t know if it was Victoria Station or King's Cross. These things are out there ...This is not new."[3]

Personal life

In 1962, Yolen married David W. Stemple. They had three children and six grandchildren. Yolen lives in Western Massachusetts next door to her daughter, Heidi. Yolen also owns a house in Scotland, where she lives about four months of the year.[4]


  • 1987 Special World Fantasy Award (for Favorite Folktales From Around the World)[2]
  • 1992 The Catholic Library Association's Regina Medal (for her body of children's literature)[7][8]
  • 1999 Nebula Award for Novelette (for "Lost Girls")[9]
  • 2009 World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement at the 2010 World Fantasy Convention. A panel of judges selects about two people annually.[2][9]


  • 1984 World Fantasy Award for Anthology/Collection (for Tales of Wonder)[2]
  • 1986 World Fantasy Award for Anthology/Collection (for Dragonfield and Other Stories)[2]
  • 1987 World Fantasy Award for Anthology/Collection (for Merlin's Booke)[2]
  • 1989 World Fantasy Award for Best Novella (for Briar Rose)[2]
  • 1993 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel (for The Devil's Arithmetic)[2]

Selected works

The Pit Dragon Chronicles

  1. Dragon's Blood (1982)
  2. Heart's Blood (1984)
  3. A Sending of Dragons (1987)
  4. Dragon's Heart (2009)

Selected novels and books

  • The Bird of Time (illustrated by Mercer Mayer) (1971)
  • The Simple Prince (illustrated by Jack Kent) (1978)
  • The Gift of Sarah Barker (1981)
  • Children of the Wolf (1984)
  • The Stone Silenus (1984)
  • Cards of Grief (1985, Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature)
  • Sister Light, Sister Dark (1989, Nebula Award finalist)
  • The Dragon's Boy (1990)
  • White Jenna (1990, Nebula Award finalist)
  • Greyling (1991, picture book)
  • Wings (1991, picture book)
  • Wizard's Hall (1991)
  • Merlin and the Dragons (illustrated by Li Ming, based on film Merlin and the Dragons) (1995)
  • Briar Rose (1992, Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature, Nebula Award finalist)
  • The One Armed Queen (1998)
  • Armageddon Summer (1998, with Bruce Coville, ALA Best Book for Young Adults, ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers)
  • Raising Yoder's Barn (1998, Paintings by Bernie Fuchs)
  • The Wizard's Map (1999)
  • Queen's Own Fool (2000)
  • Wild Wings: Poems for Young People (2002, with Jason Stemple. National Outdoor Book Award (Children's Category))
  • Girl in a Cage (2002, with Robert J. Harris)
  • Sword of the Rightful King (2003, ALA Best Books 2004, ALA Best Books for Young Adults 2004, ALA Top 10 Fantasy Books for Youth 2004)
  • Prince Across the Water (2004, with Robert J. Harris)
  • The Young Merlin Trilogy: Passager, Hobby, and Merlin (2004)
  • Pay the Piper: A Rock and Roll Fairy Tale (2005, with Adam Stemple)
  • The Rogues (2007, with Robert J. Harris)
  • Creepy Monsters, Sleepy Monsters (2011, illustrated by Kelly Murphy)
  • The Last Dragon (2011, graphic novel adapted from the short story "Dragonfield" [1985] and illustrated by Rebecca Guay)
  • Bad Girls: Sirens, Jezebels, Murderesses, Thieves, and Other Female Villains (2013, with Heidi E. Y. Stemple and illustrated by Rebecca Guay)
  • Curses! Foiled Again (2013, illustrated by Mike Cavallaro)
  • Romping Monsters, Stomping Monsters (2013, illustrated by Kelly Murphy)
  • Centaur Rising (2014)
  • Stone Angel (Philomel Books, 2015) – picture book illustrated by Katie May Green), OCLC 852681833

Selected films

Selected novellas and novelettes

Selected poems

  • "Tintagel Morning: Song" (Asimov's Science Fiction, v.14 No. 4, April 1990)
  • "Angels Fly Because They Take Themselves Lightly" (Asimov's Science Fiction, v.15 No. 14, No.179, December 1991) (1991 Asimov's Readers' Award, poetry)
  • "Will" (Broadside, Midsummer Night's Press; The Magazine of Speculative Poetry, Spring 1992) (1993 Rhysling Award winner)
  • "Lies" (Paradox, Issue 8, Winter 2005–2006)
  • "War Memorial: Edinburgh" (Paradox, Issue 8, Winter 2005–2006)
  • "Fife Map" (Paradox, Issue 9, Summer 2006)
  • "Suzy and Leah"
  • "Fat Is Not a Fairy Tale" (Find in Poetry 180)

Short story anthologies edited by Jane Yolen

  • Werewolves (1988, with Martin H. Greenberg)
  • Vampires (with Martin H. Greenberg)
  • Xanadu (1992, with Martin H. Greenberg)
  • Xanadu 2 (1993, with Martin H. Greenberg)
  • Xanadu 3 (1994, with Martin H. Greenberg)
  • 2041: Twelve Short Stories About the Future by Top Science Fiction Writers (1994, with Connie Willis and Anne McCaffrey)
  • Year's Best Science Fiction and Fantasy for Teens (2005, with Patrick Nielsen Hayden)

Folklore collection edited by Jane Yolen

  • Favorite Folktales From Around the World (winner of the World Fantasy Award)


  1. ^ a b "Books: Jane Yolen". Newsweek. May 24, 2008. Retrieved November 29, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Award Winners & Nominees [1975 to present]". World Fantasy Convention. Retrieved September 24, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Adams, John Joseph; Barr Kirtley, David (January 23, 2013). "Author Jane Yolen Talks Book Banning and Harry Potter". Wired.
  4. ^ a b c d Yolen, Jane. "A Short Biography". Retrieved March 13, 2013. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ Lipsig, Chuck (17 January 2011). "Boiled in Lead: The Not Quite Complete Recordings". Green Man Review. Retrieved 26 April 2015. 
  7. ^ "Regina Medal". Catholic Library Association. Retrieved June 11, 2013.
  8. ^ Carpan, Carolyn (2005). Jane Yolen. Infobase Publishing (Who Wrote That? series). ISBN 9780791086605. p. 112. Archived at Google Books. Retrieved June 11, 2013.
  9. ^ a b "Jane Yolen". Science Fiction Awards Database ( Mark R. Kelly and the Locus Science Fiction Foundation. 2012–2013. September 25, 2013.

External links

  • Official website
  • Yolen's writing journal
  • Jane Yolen at the Comic Book DB
  • Jane Yolen at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
  • Bibliography on SciFan
  • Briar Rose2001 interview and review of by RoseEtta Stone (
  • 2007 interview by Childrensbookradio
  • Biography at Endicott Studio
  • Biography by Rita Berman Frischer, Encyclopedia, Jewish Women's Archive
  • Works by or about Jane Yolen in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
  • Jane Yolen at Library of Congress Authorities, with 359 catalog records
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