Biography

Linda Sue Park

Linda Sue Park

(photo by Sonya Sones)

Downloadable Photos

To download a version of this photo, click on a link below, then right-click or option-click, choosing to “save image as.”

Linda Sue Park is the author of many books for young readers, including the 2002 Newbery Medal winner A Single Shard and the New York Times bestseller A Long Walk to Water. Her most recent title is Prairie Lotus, a historical fiction middle-grade novel. When she’s not writing, speaking, teaching, or caregiving for her two grandchildren, she spends most of her time on equity/inclusion work for We Need Diverse Books and the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators. She is also on the advisory board of the Rabbit hOle national children’s literature museum project. 

Linda Sue has served as a panelist for several awards and grants, including the Kirkus Prize, the National Book Award, the PEN Naylor grant, and the SCBWI Golden Kite Award. In her travels to promote reading and writing, she has visited more than 30 countries and 49 states. Linda Sue knows very well that she will never be able to read every great book ever written, but she keeps trying anyway.

FAST FACTS:

  • Born: 1960, in Urbana Illinois, to parents who had immigrated from Korea.
  • One brother, one sister.
  • Grew up in Park Forest, Illinois. Attended Blackhawk Elementary, Indiana Elementary, O.W. Huth Junior High, Rich South High School
  • College: Stanford University, B.A. in English
  • Graduate degrees: Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland & Birkbeck College, Higher Diploma in Anglo-Irish Literature. University of London, M.A. in Modern British Literature.
  • Married. Two children. Two grandchildren.
  • Interests: Food & cooking, travel, movies, knitting, baseball, snorkeling.

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION IN LIST FORM:

Family:

Parents, Korean immigrants, naturalized U.S. citizens

Siblings: One brother and one sister

Spouse: Ben Dobbin, from Dublin, Ireland

Children: One boy and one girl

Grandchildren: One boy and one girl

age 5
me, age 5, with my family
Linda Sue reading to her daughter
Reading to my daughter, 1990

Schools I’ve attended, with memorable teachers:

In Illinois:

Blackhawk Elementary, Park Forest 1965-1966

  • kindergarten with Mrs. French, who let me read as much as I wanted

Indiana Elementary, Park Forest 1967-1971

  • fifth grade, Mrs. Gilchrist, who read aloud every day
  • sixth grade, Mrs. McElroy, who made grammar fun and science fascinating

O.W. Huth Upper Grade Center, Matteson 1971-1973

Linda Sue Park, third grade, circa 1967
Third grade, circa 1967

Rich South High School, Richton Park 1973-1977

  • Freshman English, Mrs. Merritt, who encouraged me to write
  • Freshman Algebra, Mr. Caudill, whom I loved even though I hated math

Stanford University, Palo Alto, California. B.A. English 1977-1981

  • writing classes with Brett Singer and Stephanie Vaughn, poetry with Corey Wade

Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland. H.Dip, Anglo-Irish Literature 1983-1984

  • literature classes with Brendan Kennelly, Terence Brown, David Norris

Birkbeck College, London, England. M.A. Modern British Literature 1986-1988

Libraries that have saved me, where I have been a regular patron

Park Forest Public Library, Park Forest, Illinois

Clapham Library, Clapham, London, England

Brooklyn Public Library, Main branch, Brooklyn, NY

Brighton Memorial Library, Rochester, NY

I have also done research in the ‘old’ British Library Reading Room (now the British Museum Reading Room) and at the Beinecke Rare Books Library at Yale University. Probably my favorite library to hang out in is the Long Room at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland.

Brighton Memorial Library
Brighton Memorial Library, Rochester, New York (credit: Jim Doyle)
Park Forest Public Library
Park Forest Public Library
Brooklyn Public Library
Brooklyn Public Library (credit: Ajay Suresh)
British Museum Reading Room
British Museum Reading Room
Beinecke Rare Books Library, Yale University
Beinecke Rare Books Library, Yale University
Long Room, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland
Long Room, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland

Jobs I have had

  • Babysitter
  • Office assistant
  • Cafeteria hasher
  • Gymnastics teacher
  • Gymnastics judge
  • Office assistant (again)
  • Newsletter editor
  • Public relations writer
  • Advertising copywriter
  • ESL instructor
  • Freelance editor
  • Freelance food journalist
  • Cooking instructor
  • Office assistant (a third time)

Pets

Childhood:

  • Jeffy, a very smart black miniature poodle

Adulthood:

  • Cosmo, Border Terrier
  • Fergus, Border Terrier.

Grand-dogs:

  • Malcolm & Matilda, mini golden doodles
  • Pintxo, Italian greyhound

Also turtles, hermit crabs, a rabbit, and hamsters

My grand-dog Pintxo
My grand-dog Pintxo

Countries I have visited:

  • Australia
  • Korea
  • Japan
  • Hong Kong
  • Singapore
  • Indonesia
  • Thailand
  • India
  • Bangladesh
  • Ireland
  • Northern Ireland
  • England
  • Wales
  • France
  • Spain
  • Italy
  • Greece
  • Germany
  • Denmark
  • The Netherlands
  • Belgium
  • Switzerland
  • Russia
  • Bulgaria
  • Romania
  • Serbia
  • Dubai
  • Canada
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Brazil
  • Peru
  • Ecuador

Favorite trip ever: The Galapagos Islands

earth
The Blue-Footed Booby, Galapagos Islands
The Blue-Footed Booby, Galapagos Islands