Jim Murphy Biography

Jim Murphy Biography

Jim Murphy has written over thirty well-received books for young adults. His work has a historical focus, and he specializes in both fiction and nonfiction. Murphy started out as an adventurous boy with no interest in writing—until a teacher mentioned that he was forbidden to read Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms. He, of course, read it and soon grew to love books of all kinds. After studying at Rutgers University and Radcliffe College, Murphy went to work in juvenile publishing, first as an editorial secretary and eventually as a managing editor. He left to publish his first book, Weird and Wacky Inventions, in 1978. Murphy’s writing has since won numerous awards: two ALA Newbery Honor Book Awards, The Washington Post Children’s Book Guild Award for Distinguished Nonfiction, and the Boston Globe Horn Book Award.

Facts and Trivia

  • In elementary school, he began writing and illustrating his own comic books, but as an adult he lost confidence in his abilities. After eight years of working as an editor, he tried his hand at writing again and found success.
  • Murphy has described himself as a loud child who loved sports.
  • Murphy is married to Alison Blank, a children’s television producer and author of her own children’s books.
  • Murphy enjoys researching his books more than he likes actually writing them. It often takes him several years before a work is ready to be edited.
  • Murphy has two sons and several pets, including an African water frog.

Biography

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Jim Murphy was born in Newark, New Jersey, on September 25, 1947, to Helen (Grosso) and James K. Murphy. His father was a certified public accountant, and his mother was an artist who also worked as a bookkeeper. Murphy was not particularly interested in reading as a youngster, but he was athletically precocious and adventurous. As a teenager, he held a number of physically demanding jobs and remembers construction work as his favorite of these. He also was a nationally ranked high school sprinter who participated on two national champion relay teams. He became interested in literature in high school only after he discovered that there were books adults did not want him to read; this motivated him to find and read those books.

Murphy attended Rutgers University, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1970. He attended graduate school briefly at Radcliffe College in 1970, and he married Elaine A. Kelso, who is a successful business executive, on December 12, 1970. He landed a job as a secretary in the juvenile department for Seabury Press (now Clarion Books), a publisher highly regarded for the quality of its publications for children, and he eventually became managing editor. While working for Seabury Press Murphy realized that his childhood adventures and the various jobs he held as a teenager provided him with experiences that he could write about for young readers. In 1977, he left Seabury Press and became a freelance writer and editor. His first...

(The entire section is 282 words.)

Biography

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Jim Murphy was born in Newark, New Jersey, on September 25, 1947, to James K. Murphy and Helen (nee Grosso) Murphy. His father was a certified public accountant and his mother was an artist who worked as a bookkeeper. Murphy was not particularly interested in reading as a youngster, although he remembers enjoying horror stories, but he was athletically precocious and adventurous. As a teenager, he held a number of physically demanding jobs, and he remembers construction work as his favorite job. He was also a nationally ranked high school sprinter who participated on two national champion relay teams. He became interested in literature in high school only after he discovered that there were books adults did not want him to read; this motivated him to find and read those books.

He attended Rutgers University, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1970. He attended graduate school briefly at Radcliffe College in 1970, and he married business executive Elaine A. Kelso on December 12, 1970. He landed a job as a secretary in the juvenile department of Seabury Press (now Clarion Books), where he eventually became managing editor. It was while working for Seabury Press that he realized that his childhood adventures and the various jobs he held as a teenager provided him with experiences that he could write about for young readers. In 1977, he left Seabury Press to become a freelance writer and editor, and the following year his book Weird and Wacky...

(The entire section is 284 words.)

Biography

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Jim Murphy was born in Newark, New Jersey, on September 25, 1947, to James K. Murphy and Helen (nee Grosso) Murphy. His father was a certified public accountant and his mother was an artist who worked as a bookkeeper. Murphy was not particularly interested in reading as a youngster, but he was athletic and adventurous. Murphy was a nationally ranked high school sprinter and participated on two national champion relay teams. He became interested in literature in high school only after he discovered that there were books adults did not want him to read; this motivated him to find and read those books.

Murphy attended Rutgers University, graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in 1970. He then enrolled briefly in graduate school at Radcliffe College in 1970, and he married Elaine A. Kelso, who is a successful business executive, that same year. He landed a job as a secretary in the juvenile department for Seabury Press (now Clarion Books), a publisher highly regarded for the quality of its publications for children, and he eventually became managing editor. It was while working for Seabury Press that he realized that his childhood adventures and the various jobs he held as a teenager provided him with experiences that he could draw on to create works for young readers. In 1977, he left Seabury Press and became a freelance writer and editor. The next year, his book Weird and Wacky Inventions appeared. It received very good reviews. More recently,...

(The entire section is 271 words.)

Biography

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Jim Murphy was born in Newark, New Jersey, on September 25, 1947. His father was a certified public accountant and his mother was an artist who worked as a bookkeeper. Murphy was not particularly interested in reading as a youngster, but he was athletically precocious and adventurous. As a teenager, he held a number of physically demanding jobs, and remembers construction work as his favorite occupation. He also was a nationally ranked high school sprinter who participated on two national champion relay teams. He became interested in literature in high school only after he discovered that there were books adults did not want him to read; this motivated him to find and read those books. Murphy attended Rutgers University,

...

(The entire section is 267 words.)

Biography

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Jim Murphy was born in Newark, New Jersey, on September 25, 1947, to James K. Murphy and Helen (nee Grosso) Murphy. His father was a certified public accountant and his mother was an artist who worked as a bookkeeper. Murphy was not particularly interested in reading as a youngster, although he remembers enjoying horror stories, but he was athletically precocious and adventurous. As a teenager, he held a number of physically demanding jobs, and remembers construction work as his favorite job. He was also a nationally ranked high school sprinter who participated on two national champion relay teams. He became interested in literature in high school only after he discovered that there were books adults did not want him to read; this motivated him to find and read those books.

Murphy attended Rutgers University, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1970. He attended graduate school briefly at Radcliffe College in 1970, and he married Elaine A. Kelso, who is a successful business executive, on December 12, 1970. He landed a job as a secretary in the juvenile department for Seabury Press (now Clarion Books), a publisher highly regarded for the quality of its publications for children, and he eventually became managing editor. It was while working for Seabury Press that Murphy realized that his childhood adventures and the various jobs he held as a teenager provided him with experiences that he could write about for young readers. In 1977, he left...

(The entire section is 306 words.)