Biography of Christopher Paul Curtis

 Christopher Paul Curtis, born in Flint, Michigan in 1953, is a children's book writer known most famously for his middle-grade novel The Watsons Go to Birmingham. He is of African-American descent and has set many of his books in his hometown of Flint. Curtis graduated from Flint Southwestern High School in 1972, and from the University of Michigan—Flint in 2000. 

Following his high school graduation, Curtis joined a musical and theatrical group called Suitcase Theater, based in Lansing, Michigan. Directed by Powell Lindsay this group performed versions of the work of Langston Hughes, and traveled throughout Europe and North America. 

Before delving into his writing career, Curtis worked on the assembly lines of Flint's Fisher Body Plant #1, primarily responsible for hanging doors on cars. He worked a series of other low-paying jobs including groundskeeper, campaign co-manager, customer service representative, and warehouse clerk. Curtis did not publish his first book, The Watsons Go to Birmingham, until 1997. 

Though he has written many, some of his other more famous childrens' novels are Bud, Not Buddy (1999), Elijah of Buxton (2007), and The Mighty Miss Malone (2012). 

Curtis has won numerous awards for his books, including the 2009 Anne V. Zarrow Award for Young Readers' Literature, and has appeared on both The Travis Smiley Show and The Today Show. 


Study Guides on Works by Christopher Paul Curtis