Born: September 24, 1932
Ohio connection: Birth
The daughter of William Jack, Jr., and Helen Margaret (Willis) Curry, Jane Louise Curry was born and raised in East Liverpool, Ohio (the location of her novel for young people, The Lotus Cup). She grew up in a “family compound”, with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins all living close by. As a child, she loved to perform plays for family and neighbors, taking on the roles of writer, actor, costume designer, and set designer. Her family moved to Pennsylvania when she was in the fifth grade. She did a great deal of writing during this time, especially for her high school class newspaper. This love of writing continued into her college and graduate school classes. She received a B.S. degree from Indiana State College in 1954. She received an M.A. in 1962, and a Ph.D. in 1969, both from Stanford University. Curry began writing for children in the 1960s, and published her first children’s book, Down from the Lonely Mountain, in 1968. Some of her other titles are Beneath the Hill, The Sleepers, The Daybreakers, The Big Smith Snatch, What the Dickens, Ghost Love, The Great Flood Mystery, Back in the Beforetime, and Stolen Life. Curry also enjoys artwork, having displayed a number of her paintings in London at group exhibitions, including those of the Royal Society of British Artists.
Fulbright grant, 1961-62, and Stanford-Leverhulme fellowship, 1965-66, both for study in London; Honor Book Award, Book World Spring Children’s Book Festival, and Outstanding Book by a Southern California Author Award, Southern California Council on Literature for Children and Young People, 1970, both for The Daybreakers; “Book of the Month” citation from Deutsche Akademie fuer Kinderund Jugenliteratur in Volkach, 1971; Ohioana Book Award, Martha Kinney Cooper Ohioana Library Association, 1977, for Poor Tom’s Ghost; Edgar Allan Poe Special Award (“Edgar”), Mystery Writers of America, 1978, for Poor Tom’s Ghost, and 1979, for The Bassumtyte Treasure; Distinguished Contribution to the Field of Children’s Literature Award, Southern California Council on Literature for Children and Young People, 1979, for body of work.