A New York native, Gail Carson Levine was born September 17, 1947. She began writing in elementary school, and in high school her poems were published in two anthologies of teenage poetry. Her creative family included her father, David, who owned a commercial art studio and her mother, Sylvia, a teacher who wrote plays in rhyme for her students. Levine herself aspired to follow her sister, Rani, now a professor of fine arts, into painting.
In 1967 she married David Levine, a software developer, and then graduated from City College of the City University of New York with a B.A. in 1969. Together they created a children's musical, Spacenapped, which was produced in Brooklyn. After this first adult writing project, Levine created several children's picture books. But in a class on writing and illustrating, she discovered her real interest centered more in the words than the pictures.
Ella Enchanted began as an assignment in another writing class. Unable to think of a story line, she borrowed the plot from Cinderella, but added the curse of obedience and a rebellious heroine to make it more interesting. While working for the New York State Department of Labor, Levine wrote her stories on the Metro North, commuting from her home in Brewster, New York, to her job as welfare administrator.
Since issuing Ella Enchanted, a work that was named a 1998 Newbery Honor book, Levine has created a series of varied fairy tales and is revising an early first novel about her father's experiences in a Harlem orphanage.
She and her husband live in a 200-yearold farmhouse with their Airedale, Jake.