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Connie Ann Kirk (1957–) Biography - Personal, Addresses, Career, Member, Honors Awards, Writings, Work in Progress, Sidelights

sky children american dancers

Born 1957, in Wellsville, NY; Ethnicity: "Irish American and Native American (Seneca)." Education: Binghamton University, B.A., 1985, M.A. (English and creative writing), 1988, Ph.D. (English), 2004.

Addresses

Office—P.O. Box 337, Painted Post, NY 14870.

Career

Mansfield University, Mansfield, PA, adjunct professor of English, 1988–.

Member

Modern Language Association, American Literature Association, Emily Dickinson International Society, Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.

Honors Awards

Everett Helm fellowship, University of Indiana—Bloomington, 2003; Mark Twain research fellowship, Center for Mark Twain Studies at Elmira College, 2003; A biography of the popular British author who penned the "Harry Potter" novels is one of Kirk's nonfiction books for younger readers. (Cover image by Rafael Fuchs.)Ezra Jack Keats/deGrummond children's literature research fellowship, University of Mississippi, 2004; Kerlan grant, University of Minnesota—Minneapolis, 2004.

Writings

FOR CHILDREN

Sky Dancers (picture book), illustrated by Christy Hale, Lee & Low (New York, NY), 2004.

NONFICTION

The Mohawks of North America ("First Peoples" series), Lerner (Minneapolis, MN), 2002.

J.K. Rowling: A Biography, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 2003.

Emily Dickinson: A Biography, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 2004.

Mark Twain: A Biography, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 2004.

Sylvia Plath: A Biography, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 2004.

A Student's Guide to Robert Frost, Enslow Publishers (Berkeley Heights, NJ), 2005.

Companion to American Children's Picture Books, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 2005.

Work in Progress

Emily Dickinson and Children, for University Press of New England; research on American literature and culture, children's literature, and Emily Dickinson.

Sidelights

In addition to teaching English on the college level, Connie Ann Kirk is the author of several literary biographies as well as the picture book Sky Dancer. Her book J.K. Rowling: A Biography was praised by School Library Journal contributor Kathleen Simonetta, who wrote that the volume's "scholarly writing style" and discussion of the literary analysis of Rowling's "Harry Potter" novels would be useful to high-school students.

In Sky Dancers Kirk tells a story about a young Mohawk boy whose father and uncle are steel-workers helping to build New York City's Empire State Building during the 1930s. One of many Native Americans hired to work on the structural steel beams high in the sky, John Cloud's brave father inspires his young son to conquer his own fear of heights. A Kirkus Reviews writer praised Kirk's detailed research into relevant Native-American culture and called the book a "true-to-life portrait of [Mohawk] family life and traditions," while in Booklist Jennifer Mattson noted that Sky Dancers "will work nicely to extend children's understanding of Native American traditions."

Awed by his father and grandfather's ability to walk along steel beams while working atop one of New York City's giant skyscrapers, a young Mohawk boy also tales pride in his family's special gift to the growing city in Sky Dancers. (Illustration by Christy Hale.)

Kirk told SATA: "I started out writing fiction in college and am somewhat surprised to find that most of my currently published books are nonfiction. However, I do love research, so I am pleased to be doing scholarly work—at least for now.

"I expect that eventually the lure of characters, narrative, and language will draw me back to fiction. I have always seen myself as a novelist. I think it is the novelist in me that provides the curiosity about people as well as the narrative technique necessary to write biography. If each piece of writing is a journey, then a writing career is also a journey, where the scenery changes from time to time."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, November 15, 2004, Jennifer Mattson, review of Sky Dancers, p. 590.

Kirkus Reviews, October 15, 2004, review of Sky Dancers, p. 1009.

School Library Journal, August, 2003, Kathleen Simonetta, review of J.K. Rowling: A Biography, p. 179; January, 2005, Kathy Krasniewicz, review of Sky Dancers, p. 94.

Voice of Youth Advocates, February, 2004, Roxy Ekstrom, review of J.K. Rowling, p. 516.

ONLINE

Connie Ann Kirk Home Page, http://www.connieannkirk.com (January 5, 2006).

Daniel Kirk (1952-) Biography - Personal, Career, Honors Awards, Writings, Sidelights [next] [back] Heather Kirk (1949–) Biography - Personal, Career, Member, Honors Awards, Writings, Work in Progress, Sidelights

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