Kate Dicamillo Biography & Facts
Katrina Elizabeth DiCamillo (born March 25, 1964) is an American children's fiction author. She has published over 25 novels, including Because of Winn-Dixie, The Tiger Rising, The Tale of Despereaux, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, The Magician's Elephant, the Mercy Watson series, and Flora & Ulysses. Her books have sold around 37 million copies. Four have been developed into films and two have been adapted into musical settings. Her works have won various awards; The Tale of Despereaux and Flora & Ulysses won the Newbery Medal, making DiCamillo one of six authors to have won two Newbery Medals.
Born in Philadelphia, DiCamillo moved to Clermont, Florida, as a child, where she grew up. She earned an English degree from the University of Florida, Gainesville, and spent several years working entry-level jobs in Clermont before moving to Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1994. In Minnesota, DiCamillo worked in a book warehouse and attempted to get a book published. Her first book to be accepted for publication was Because of Winn-Dixie, which was critically and commercially successful. DiCamillo then left her job to become a full-time author.
From 2014 to 2015 DiCamillo was the American National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. She lives in Minneapolis and continues to write. Her most recent novel, The Beatryce Prophecy, was published in 2021.
Early life and education
Katrina Elizabeth DiCamillo was born on March 25, 1964, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Betty Lee DiCamillo (née Gouff), a teacher, and Adolph Louis DiCamillo, an orthodontist. DiCamillo has an older brother and had pet dogs as a child. She had chronic pneumonia as a child and was often hospitalized. In hopes of helping her sickness, the family moved to the warmer climate of Clermont, Florida, when Kate was five. Her father remained in Philadelphia with his business, but visited on occasion. Although he originally planned to move with the family after selling his practice, this never happened. DiCamillo was an avid reader as a child and often visited the local library. She later credited her mother for sparking her love for books. DiCamillo also often turned to reading when she was particularly sick with pneumonia and unable to do much else. She wanted to be a veterinarian until she was around ten.She was educated at public schools in the area beginning with Clermont Elementary, before entering Rollins College. DiCamillo left Rollins and worked for a time at Walt Disney World before briefly attending the University of Central Florida. She eventually entered the University of Florida, Gainesville, and graduated with a bachelor's degree in English in 1987.
DiCamillo then worked various entry-level jobs in Clermont, including at Circus World, Walt Disney World, a campground and in a greenhouse. She said of her life during this time that she thought she was a talented writer and expected it to be quickly recognized so she "sat around for the next seven or eight years". DiCamillo moved to Minneapolis in 1994, following a close friend, and after several jobs was hired to work in The Bookman, a book warehouse and distributor, as a picker, eventually in the children's book section, a placement that she was initially disappointed over. While working in the department, DiCamillo discovered The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963, a children's novel she greatly admired.She began writing regularly while working in the book warehouse, waking up at before her shifts on weekdays to write. After four years in Minnesota, DiCamillo met the author Louise Erdrich, who offered her encouragement. DiCamillo submitted her books to several publishers. She received in return 473 rejection letters. She was also encouraged by the author Jane Resh Thomas. By the turn of the 21st century, despite her efforts, DiCamillo had only several short stories aimed at adults that had been published in magazines.
Writing career and recognition
DiCamillo had published 25 books as of 2018. As of 2021, almost 37 million copies of her books were in print. In 2019 she was described as "Minnesota's most successful writer" in Mpls St Paul Magazine. The success of her books was described in 2006 by a Candlewick Press representative as a "cornerstone" of the publisher's success.DiCamillo's first book to be accepted for publication was Because of Winn-Dixie by Candlewick Press, a story about a girl who finds a stray dog and takes it home. A 1998 McKnight Fellowship grant allowed her to focus more on writing. She conceived the book's plot during the winter of her first year living in Minnesota, when she was missing her Florida home and upset about her apartment's no-dog policy. DiCamillo gave her draft to a Candlewick sales agent who was at a Christmas party held by The Bookman. The book was initially given to an editor who left the company on maternity leave and was lost in a pile of other manuscripts. It was rediscovered when the employee's office was cleaned out. She was offered and signed a contract. After a rewrite, the book was published in 2000. Flo Davis, the wife of a founder of the Winn-Dixie supermarket chain, sponsored DiCamillo to visit various schools in Florida and widen the book's reach. It was a quick commercial and critical success. Afterwards, DiCamillo left her job to focus on writing full-time. She told the Chicago Tribune in 2004 that she forced herself to write two pages every day, which took her on average from thirty minutes to an hour. In 2017, DiCamillo estimated that she spent about 12–15 hours a week writing and 35 to 40 reading, mainly adult fiction. She often traveled to talk about her writing. During the COVID-19 pandemic, DiCamillo reported that she wrote every morning for 100 days.Because of Winn-Dixie's success marked the beginning of DiCamillo's writing career. It won the 2000 Josette Frank Award and a Newbery Honor. Her second book, The Tiger Rising, was published the following year. It was also well received by critics, who noted stylistic differences between it and Because of Winn-Dixie. DiCamillo won the Newbery Medal in 2004 for her third work The Tale of Despereaux. She wrote the book upon the request of the child of one of her friends for a story with "an unlikely hero". DiCamillo said she was shocked by the news of the Newbery. DiCamillo said that her 2006 work The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, which is about a china rabbit, was very easy to write.The Mercy Watson series, which features a pig as its main character, began with Mercy Watson Goes for a Ride (2006) and ended with Mercy Watson: Something Wonky This Way Comes (2009). DiCamillo's 2010 novel Bink & Gollie, co-written with Alison McGhee and illustrated by Tony Fucile won the 2011 Theodor Seuss Geisel Medal. Her 2013 novel Flora & Ulysses was partially inspired by an injured squirrel she saw. It won the Newbery Medal in 2014, making her one of six writers to win two Newberys since the award was cr.... Discover the Kate Dicamillo popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Kate Dicamillo books.