Mobile, AL, US
Atlanta, GA, US
Deborah Wiles was born in Alabama into an Air Force family and spent her growing-up summers in a small Mississippi town with an extended family full of Southern characters. Today she writes about them and they live on in her stories.
Deborah is the first children’s book author to be named Writer-in-Residence at Thurber House, James Thurber’s boyhood home in Columbus, Ohio. She received the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award from the New York Public Library and the Keats Foundation in 2002 and is the 2004 recipient of the PEN/Phyllis Reynolds Naylor Working Writer Fellowship.
She holds an MFA in Writing from Vermont College and taught “Writing Techniques for Teachers” at Towson University in Maryland until she moved to Atlanta in 2004. She also taught writing in the MFA program at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and at Vermont College.
Deborah has written the picture books: One Wide Sky (Harcourt, 2003), a Children’s Book of the Month Club selection, and Freedom Summer (Simon & Schuster, 2001), winner of numerous awards, including dual Ezra Jack Keats Awards, and the Coretta Scott King/Steptoe award for illustrator Jerome Lagarrigue. She also wrote a picture book about Robert Kennedy.
Deborah has written four novels about growing up in the south. The first three are known as the Aurora County Trilogy. Love, Ruby Lavender was an ALA Notable Children’s Book, a Children’s Book Sense 76 Pick, and a New York Public Library Book for Reading and Sharing. The book has also been nominated for twenty-six state book award reading lists, voted on by children. Deborah’s novel Each Little Bird That Sings won the Bank Street Fiction Award for 2005, a Golden Kite Honor Award, was a 2005 E.B. White Read Aloud Award winner, and is a 2005 National Book Award finalist. The Aurora County All-Stars completes the Aurora County trilogy. Her most recent project is called “The Sixties Trilogy: Three novels of the 1960s for young readers.” Countdown received excellent reviews.
When not writing, Deborah enjoys reading, gardening, singing, playing the banjo, and cooking. She keeps a blog where she chronicles her writing and life.
Deborah lives in Atlanta, Georgia, where she avoids the traffic, writes songs with her husband, jazz pianist Jim Pearce, climbs Stone Mountain, and grows the world’s most beautiful zinnias.