Robin McKinley Biography

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Robin McKinley Biography

Robin McKinley marks her life by the books she has read throughout the world. Her father was in the navy, so her family moved many times. McKinley learned to find solace in literature. She began writing professionally at the age of twenty-six. Her young adult books generally feature strong heroines that have personality traits similar to McKinley’s own, such as clumsiness and a general lack of interest in dating. She believes that girls should be “doing things” and hopes to inspire young women to do just that through her stories. Even her novels that focus on romance portray the heroines as strong women who do not betray their own goals in order to win a man’s love. Her most renowned books are the fantasy stories Blue Sword and The Hero and the Crown, both set in the fictional land of Damar.

Facts and Trivia

  • McKinley recalls just what books she has read where. For instance, she remembers reading The Chronicles of Narnia in New York, The Lord of the Rings in Japan, and The Once and Future King in Maine.
  • McKinley won the Newbery Medal in 1985 for her book The Hero and the Crown.
  • McKinley loves opera and long walks. She credits both of them with keeping her imagination strong.
  • McKinley has said that girls growing up go through a phase where they believe in destiny and feel that they are lost princesses.
  • In addition to her fantasy novels, McKinley has written updated versions of Beauty and the Beast and Sleeping Beauty.
  • While writing The Blue Sword, McKinley suffered an injury when a horse fell on her hand, and it delayed the writing for six weeks.

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Biography

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Jennifer Carolyn Robin McKinley was born on November 16, 1952, in Warren, Ohio. Her mother was a teacher and her father a sailor in the U.S. Navy and Merchant Marine. McKinley caught the travel bug as a young child, adapting to life in a navy family that never settled in one place for more than two years.

McKinley attended Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, from 1970 to 1972, and in 1975 received her bachelor's degree from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. After graduating, she taught secondary school, worked in a bookstore, and did editorial work for a publisher. In 1981 she moved to a horse farm in Massachusetts, where she indulged in a pleasurable combination of physical exertion in working with horses and imaginative endeavor in writing fiction. She currently lives in Maine, surrounded by her huge book collection.

McKinley's fiction for young adults reflects her interest in fairy tales and folklore. Her first novel, Beauty, retells the traditional fable of "Beauty and the Beast." It was highly praised by reviewers and selected for the "Best of the Year List" by Horn Book magazine in 1978, establishing McKinley as a promising young writer of fantasy. Her subsequent novels and short stories have all been fantasies, some original and others creative reworkings of old tales. The Hero and the Crown was named an American Library Association Notable Book in 1984 and received the 1985 Newbery Medal.

Biography

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Jennifer Carolyn Robin McKinley was born on November 16, 1952, in Warren, Ohio. Her father's navy career took her across the United States and to Japan as she was growing up. She recalls various periods of her life not by where she lived, but by what she was reading at the time. McKinley attended Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, from 1970 to 1972, and in 1975 received her bachelor's degree from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. After graduating, she taught secondary school, worked in a bookstore, and worked as an editor.

Tall and, as a child, somewhat clumsy, she often felt like an outsider. Although she has had a passion for horses since the second grade and lived for two years on a horse farm, her riding ability comes from hard work rather than natural talent. There is something of Robin McKinley in Aerin, the heroine of The Hero and the Crown, who learns to handle a sword by long hours of practice until her muscles know the moves by rote.

McKinley writes about girls of...

(The entire section is 2,362 words.)