Mindy McGinnis

Born: 1979

Ohio Connection: Birth

Morrow County

Mindy L. McGinnis, an award-winning novelist of young adult (YA) literature, grew up in a rural town in Ohio. In 2001, she graduated magna cum laude from Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio with a B. A. in English Literature and Religion. When she was in eighth grade, McGinnis knew that she wanted to be a writer, and held several jobs before becoming an assistant to a teen librarian with the Cardington-Lincoln Local Schools. There she worked (and wrote) for 13 years, until leaving in August 2016.

McGinnis has authored more than six books, including the post-apocalyptic thriller Not a Drop to Drink (2013); followed by the companion novel In a Handful of Dust (2014). In 2015, McGinnis published A Madness So Discreet, the Gothic historical thriller which became the 2016 Edgar Award winner for Best Young Adult novel. In 2016, McGinnis published The Female of the Species, her first contemporary YA novel, and Given to the Sea, the first in a fantasy duology.  The psychological thriller, This Darkness Mine, will be released in October. In 2018, McGinnis will publish Given to the Earth, the second in her “Given” duology. Her short stories are featured in anthologies that include Among the Shadows: Thirteen Stories of Darkness and Light (2015) and Winter’s Regret (2014).

In a Fall 2016 interview with Otterbein University’s Towers Magazine, McGinnis stated, “There was a long period of time during that journey where I quit, put away the dream and told myself it wasn’t possible. But the stories in my head didn’t stop, so I thought I might as well write them down, and once that was done I might as well attempt to get them published.” McGinnis also recounted that it took ten years for her to get an agent. An advocate for the arts and the writing community, she maintains a blog for aspiring writers that features interviews with agents and authors.

Mindy McGinnis lives in Ohio. Her debut novel Not a Drop to Drink was selected as 2015-2016 Choose to Read Ohio title, and has been optioned for film.


2016 Edgar Award, Best Young Adult for A Madness So Discreet; 2016 RT Reviewers Choice Award, Young Adult Contemporary Novel for The Female of the Species; 2017 Katherine Paterson Prize for Young Adult & Children’s Writing, overall first place for “Do Not Go Gently.”