Gordon Korman Biography

Gordon Korman was born October 23, 1963 in Montreal, Quebec in Canada. He wrote his first book, This Can't be Happening at Macdonald Hall when he was 12 years old for a coach who suddenly found himself teaching 7th grade English … he later took that episode and created a book out of it, as well, in the Sixth Grade Nickname Game, where Mr. Huge was based on that 7th grade teacher.

His first book found a home with Scholastic, who also published his next 20 or so books, including six more Bruno and Boots titles, and several award winning young adult titles, among them my personal favorite, Son of Interflux. Scholastic still publishes many of Gordon's titles, though Hyperion Press is also now printing some of Gordon's stories.

Gordon eventually made one of his homes in New York City, where he studied film and film writing. While in New York, he also met his future wife, and they eventually married -- they now have three children. He now lives on Long Island, outside of New York City, has approximately 70 books to his credit, and is currently contracted for several more.

This covers most of the major points of Gordon's life, but for more information right from the source, check out Gordon's answers to the top ten questions he's asked during his school visits here. And for slightly more information, check out the following information dug up by a Gordon Korman fan from various newspaper and magazine articles: (Some of these articles are quite old, so Gordon has added occasional comments [... -- GK] to provide current contrast.

Toronto Star, 12/14/86

• mentions pirated Chinese copies of Gordon's books, and Gordon's amusement (rather than anger)

Newsday, 7/26/87

• born in Montreal in 1963, lived there until 1970. Went to public high school and got a “regular high school diploma”

• Favorite authors are Kurt Vonnegut, Joseph Heller, Robert Cormier, Paul Zindel [Have to confess to being a Harry Potter fan, lately. Other fave kidsbook writers -- Jerry Spinelli, Cris Crutcher, Jack Gantos -- GK]

• Says first book didn't come out in US until 1983 [I think this is a mistake --; I know I read one before then] [Books were on book clubs before then, but never on permanent list where they could be ordered by stores -- GK]

• Says he writes out stories first in long hand and then types them into a computer [Old news, I'm a Microsoft Word guy now. What would I do without that annoying paperclip guy in the top corner of the screen to kibitz me? -- GK]

• Paul in Don't Care High is “almost autobiographical”

• Rob in No Coins, Please is based on “my friend Hal who was a counselor on the real trip” [Friend's name is Howard (lives in Southern California now) -- GK]

• Mom wrote Erma Bombeck-style column in Montreal

• Doesn't work steadily -- tries to write every day, though. Writes mainly in afternoons and late nights [I'm kind of a nine-to-fiver now. Everything is based around my son's daycare schedule. I will occasionally put in a late-night marathon, though -- GK]

• Takes about 6 months to write a book. [For a new novel, yeah. The series books are quicker once I'm in the groove -- no new characters or settings to dream up -- 4 months, approximately -- GK] Used to take 3 months while he was in school. Has taken up to 10 months.

• Was a B+ student

• Favorite books as a kid were the “Great Brain” series

Cleveland Plain Dealer, 2/28/92

• new English teacher required all students in 7th grade class to write a novel over course of the semester, which became This Can't Be Happening at Macdonald Hall!

• Gordon's books have been translated into French, Swedish, Norwegian & Cantonese

• Gordon always has “tons of ideas” -- just has to pick the right one

Don't Care High reflected his own Canadian school experience with some of his NY experience thrown in

• Named one character from a name he heard from a caller who dialed a wrong number [Samuel Wiscombe (Don't Care High) -- GK]

The Baltimore Sun, 4/8/92

• got a B+ on This Can't Be Happening at Macdonald Hall!

• teacher who required him to write novel in 7th grade was a track & field coach -- he taught English because they didn't have enough English teachers at his school [Mid semester replacements are not uncommon in schools. Mr. Hamilton (1st book is dedicated to him) was a really nice guy, so I feel bad that some of these stories make him the butt of this joke. He was a terrific teacher, he just hadn't taught language arts before that. -- GK]

Richmond Times-Dispatch, 8/26/92

• Gordon travels more than 40,000 miles each year to promote his books & talk to kids

Newark Star-Ledger, 12/10/92

• 50% of what Gordon writes is something that really happened, and 50% is imaginary

• “cracks himself up” while writing -- laughs at his own jokes

• humor and fun his only considerations -- never tries to illustrate a particular moral [I would disagree with this myself -- I think Son of Interflux makes a statement!] [No, I agree. Many of them do. But if you compare my books to the sledgehammer preachiness of most kidsbooks, I feel that people get a more accurate sense of what I do when I say that I write my books to be enjoyed, period -- GK]

• Doesn't have a favorite amongst his books

• Has considered writing adult books, has an interest in writing screenplays [I still feel that way, but a lot of time has gone by and I still haven't acted on any of those impulses -- GK]

Toronto Star, 10/23/93

• social relevance not a priority in his books -- wants to entertain

Toronto Star, 11/20/93

• books have sold over 4.5 million copies [Current stat is 25 million -- GK]

• went to high school in Thornhill, Ontario

• got his BA in Fine Arts from NYU in 1985

• travels 70 days a year, speaking & reading -- approx. 20 in Canada [These days that figure is more like 40, with just a handful in Canada -- GK]

• visits Toronto every month or so [Now more like several times per year -- GK]

Buffalo News, 4/7/98

• parents named Gordon after Gordie Howe

• favorite sport as a child was hockey -- favorite hockey star was Bobby Orr [I'm now a Mario Lemieux fan -- GK]

• dedicated This Can't Be Happening at Macdonald Hall to his English teacher, Mr. Hamilton

• writing “Stars From Mars[That's done, naturally -- GK]

• writes at his parents' home [not anymore, I'm not there as much as I used to be -- GK] and at his office in his house

• took one year to write Losing Joe's Place

• enjoys plays, movies & TV, plus hiking, bicycling & walking

Toronto Star, 12/19/98

• Lockwood Films is developing 13 episode TV series on Bruno & Boots [No, this project is dead, but options are in place on other books including The Twinkie Squad, the Island trilogy, and oldie but goodie No Coins, Please -- GK]

• some episodes based on books, others brand new

• production budget of CAN$5M

• shooting “could” start in Summer 1999

• likely to be shot in Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver BC

Fresno Bee, 1/21/99

• Disney Channel series “The Jersey”, based on Gordon's Monday Night Football books