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Christopher Paul

Christopher Paul Curtis grew up in Flint, Michigan and spent 13 years on the assembly line where his job hanging car doors left him with a lifelong aversion to getting in and out of automobiles. He graduated from the University of Michigan – Flint, where he began writing fiction. His first novel, The Watsons Go to Birmingham was awarded both a Newbery Honor and a Coretta Scott King Honor in 1996. His second novel, Bud, Not Buddy received the Newbery Medal and a Coretta Scott King Award in 2000. Curtis currently lives in Detroit.

Award History

Jury Citation

"Combining great personal warmth, humour, and a passion for Black history, Christopher Paul Curtis has gifted us with a dazzling, complex body of literature. Ever the wordsmith, he has given lively form and metaphoric resonance to vital subject matter, placing young readers deep inside his characters’ lives — whether it be 1849 Buxton, 1936 Flint, or 1963 Birmingham. Working against the sense of resolution that seems so obligatory in a lot of writing for children, his novels refuse easy redemptive arcs — bearing witness, instead, to the emotional and behavioural afterlife of love, tragedy, and violence. This commitment to truths and a timescape that take us beyond simple endings sets Curtis apart and demonstrates his deep respect for young people. It’s extraordinary that Curtis has offered this compassionate, honest, and respectful vision to young readers as part of their own future. Christopher Paul Curtis: we thank you for your wonderfully imagined stories, for the way you’ve captured characters as richly embodied subjects, for your honouring of Black struggle and survival, for your wicked/subversive sense of humour. You remind us of the power of seemingly small acts of tenderness and beauty against the vicious sweep of history but also of the role of stories and young people in beckoning new futures." —2018 Vicky Metcalf Award for Literature for Young People Jury (Deirdre Baker, Glen Huser, and Kyo Maclear)

Works recognized by WT

Bud, Not Buddy

Elijah of Buxton

The Journey of Little Charlie

The Madman of Piney Woods

The Mighty Miss Malone

The Watsons Go to Birmingham