Libba Bray Biography
Personal, Addresses, Career, Writings, Sidelights
Born 0027;s book agent); Education: University of Texas, B.A. (theatre), 1988. Hobbies and other interests: People watching, touring New York City.
Agent—c/o Author Mail, Delacorte Press, Dell Publishing, 1540 Broadway, New York, NY 10036.
Novelist and freelance writer. Penguin Putnam, New York, NY, former member of publicity department staff; Spier (advertising agency), New York, NY, member of staff for three years.
Kari, HarperTrophy (New York, NY), 2000.
A Great and Terrible Beauty, Delacorte Press (New York, NY), 2003.
Also author of series titles for a New York City book packager.
Small-town Texas-born writer Libba Bray has always loved a good story. A fan of reading as a child, while growing up she also fell in love with the stage and majored in theatre when she attended the University of Texas. After graduation, and with aspirations of becoming a playwright, the spunky Bray took a chance and moved to New York City to room with a college friend, with only $600 in her pocket. After taking jobs in publishing and advertising to hone her writing skills, Bray became a freelance writer, and has authored the novels Kari and A Great and Terrible Beauty, both for teen readers.
A Great and Terrible Beauty presents readers with a gothic tale about Gemma Doyle, a sixteen-year-old boarding-school student living in Victorian London who is attempting to comprehend and grapple with her newly discovered ability to travel into a supernatural realm and envision the future. "Featuring both mystical and forbidden romance elements, Bray's debut novel will appeal to a large audience" predicted Booklist reviewer Laurie Hartshorn. Lisa Prolman, reviewing the novel for School Library Journal, dubbed the book "an interesting combination of fantasy, light horror, and historical fiction, with a dash of romance thrown in for good measure." In Kliatt, Claire Rosser also had praise for A Great and Terrible Beauty, writing: "There is much that is appealing in this story. It reads like an adult novel, except that the characters are teenagers; the character development and vocabulary are rich and meaty."
In an interview with Clair E. White for Writers Write, Bray had some advice for aspiring writers. "Read everything. Write even if you don't feel like it—especially if you don't feel like it. Write what interests and moves you without regard to how it will be received. Don't be afraid to go to the dark places or toward what scares you as a writer. Put a little blood on the page—a book should cost you something to write."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, August, 2004, Laurie Hartshorn, review of A Great and Terrible Beauty, p. 1954.
Horn Book, September-October, 2004, Dristi Elle Jemtegaard, review of A Great and Terrible Beauty, p. 609.
Kirkus Reviews, November 15, 2003, review of A Great and Terrible Beauty, p. 1358.
Kliatt, January, 2004, Claire Rosser, review of A Great and Terrible Beauty, p. 6.
Publishers Weekly, December 8, 2003, review of A Great and Terrible Beauty, p. 62; February 2, 2004, review of A Great and Terrible Beauty, p. 30.
School Library Journal, February, 2004, Lisa Prolman, review of A Great and Terrible Beauty, p. 141; June, 2004, Francisca Goldsmith, review of A Great and Terrible Beauty, p. 76.
Libba Bray Web site, http://www.libbabray.com (February 27, 2005).
Writers Write Web site, http://www.writerswrite.com/ (January-February, 2004), Claire E. White, interview with Bray.*