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Kelly Barnhill

Newbery Medal Winner and Bestselling Author of THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON

Author, teacher, mom. Newbery medalist. Terrible gardener. Maker of pie.
These are but a few of the descriptors with which Kelly Barnhill defines herself.
She frankly admits that the sum of her former jobs—bartender, park ranger, church janitor, wild-eyed activist, wildland firefighter, and dull-eyed office slave—prepared her for very little, save the telling of stories. And she tells them very, very well.

Barnhill’s prodigious storytelling talents have been nationally recognized with the 2017 Newbery Medal for The Girl Who Drank the Moon, given to the author of “the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.” Fox Animation acquired the rights to this epic coming-of-age fairy tale, which the New York Times Book Review calls “Exhilarating . . . Impossible to put down . . . As exciting and layered as classics like Peter Pan or The Wizard of Oz.”

Her forthcoming book, Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories (Algonquin, Spring 2018), is her first full-length work for grown-ups—a collection that weaves together the fantastical and the humane. By an author hailed as “a fantasist on the order of Neil Gaiman” (Minneapolis Star Tribune), the nine stories in Dreadful Young Ladies feature bold, reality-bending invention underscored by richly illuminated universal themes of love, death, jealousy, pain, and hope.

Barnhill is the recipient of fellowships from the Jerome Foundation, the Minnesota State Arts Board, and the McKnight Foundation, and the winner of the World Fantasy Award and the Parents’ Choice Gold Award. She has received a Texas Library Association Bluebonnet Award nomination and an NCTE Charlotte Huck Honor. In addition to being a writer, Barnhill is also a trained teacher who does interactive classroom visits, large-scale lectures and presentations, one-off writing workshops, and in-depth residencies.

Whether appearing at local libraries, schools, and bookstores or at universities, conferences, and festivals, Kelly’s presentations are tailored to the needs and interests of the participants, from middle-graders, to middle-agers, to senior citizens. Her wish is that they leave captivated by the wonder and magic of the written word. And that they have a blast in the process.

Speaking Topics

  • Into the Deep Dark Woods of Writing—Tools to Help You Navigate Your Journey
  • The Magic of Landscapes—The Intrinsic Connection Between the Ground Under Our Feet and the Shape of Our Stories
  • Children’s Literature for Grown-Ups—What Kids’ Books Teach Us About Life
  • Making a Brave New World—The Art and Craft of World-Building in Literature

Meet Kelly Barnhill

Travels from

Minneapolis, MN


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