September 17th – Gail Carson Levine

“I don’t wait for inspiration. Writing is my job.”

Gail Carson Levine

Gail Carson Levine was born September 17, 1947. She grew up in New York, where her father owned a commercial art studio and her mother was a teacher. 

In 1967 she married David Levine, and in 1969 she received her B.A. in philosopher from City College. After school she worked for twenty-seven years for the government of New York State, mainly as a welfare administrator. 

In 1987 she began writing books for children, receiving rejection for nine years. She continued to work on her craft, taking classes and joining writing groups. Her first novel, Ella Enchanted, was published in 1997, when Levine was fifty. In 1998 it received a Newbery Honor. In 2004 the novel was made into a popular film. The success of the novel allowed her to retire from her government job and purse writing full-time. 

She followed up Ella Enchanted with Dave at Night (1999) a fictional story about a boy living in an orphanage based on her own father’s experiences growing up. Then she returned to the imagined world of fairy tales for her Princess Tales (2002 and 2004) and also visited the world of Peter Pan and Never Land in her Disney book Fairy Dust and the Quest For the Egg (2005). She’s written multiple other novels for young people and picture books as well, most including the magic, love, and strong female leads she’s known for. 

Levine also runs workshop for children on writing, and compiled the exercises she created into a non-fiction book Writing Magic: Creating Stories That Fly. 

Lesson from Levine

Although always interested in books and writing, Levine didn’t start writing until she was in her forties. 

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