Biography of Ned Vizzini

Born in New York, Ned Vizzini was educated at Stuyvesant High School and at Hunter College. His experiences of the city and its schooling system informed the young adult fiction for which Vizzini is most famous. His novel It's Kind of a Funny Story is based on Vizzini's own experiences of demanding academic settings—and on the days that Vizzini spent in a the psychiatric wing of a Brooklyn hospital in 2004. Vizzini began recording his observations on society and mental health during his teenage years. He wrote for the New York Press and, eventually, published some of his essayistic works in the book Teen Angst? Naaah.

Much of Vizzini's reputation rests on two darkly humorous novels, Be More Chill and It's Kind of a Funny Story, both of which deal with issues of insecurity, popularity, and fulfillment in high school. While Be More Chill takes a fantastical approach to these ideas (featuring small supercomputers that can make high school students more spontaneous and confident), It's Kind of a Funny Story is a psychological portrait of a young man, Craig Gilner, who must cope with depression, difficult relationships, and thoughts about suicide. Both books have been adapted to other media: Be More Chill was recently transformed into a musical, and It's Kind of a Funny Story was made as a feature film.

Vizzini was often honest about his own psychological and psychiatric struggles, and used his works to offer direction and perhaps solace to his readers. Yet he took his own life in 2013, at the age of 32.

Study Guides on Works by Ned Vizzini

Published in 2006, Ned Vizzini's It's Kind of a Funny Story confronts weighty issues—in particular, teen depression and suicide—through an unexpected combination of dark comedy and abiding hope. The novel is set in the present day, and is narrated...