Berlin, Eric

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Berlin, Eric

PERSONAL:

Married; wife's name Janinne (a homemaker); children: Alexander, Lea. Education: State University of New York at Albany, degree, 1990; attended Juilliard School, 1993-94.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Milford, CT. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer, publisher, and puzzle creator. PC Magazine, editorial researcher, 1990-92; Mecklermedia, editor, 1995-97; Uproar, game designer, 1998-2000; Skillgames, game designer, 2000-01; Vtech, producer, 2002-03; Penny Publications, assistant publisher, 2004—.

MEMBER:

National Puzzlers' League.

WRITINGS:

The Puzzling World of Winston Breen (novel), Putnam (New York, NY), 2007.

The Potato Chip Puzzles (novel), Putnam (New York, NY), 2008.

PLAYS

Babes and Brides: Two One-Act Plays (contains The Line That's Picked Up 1,000 Babes [and] The Midnight Moonlight Wedding Chapel), Samuel French (New York, NY), 1993.

SIDELIGHTS:

Eric Berlin, a former playwright and game designer, is the author of the young-adult mystery The Puzzling World of Winston Breen. Berlin, a graduate of the Juilliard School's playwriting program, also creates crossword puzzles for the New York Times, among others. In addition, he works as an assistant publisher for Penny Publications, which produces dozen of puzzle magazines.

The Puzzling World of Winston Breen was inspired by Ellen Raskin's puzzle-mystery masterpiece The Westing Game, winner of a Newbery medal. Berlin's novel focuses on Winston Breen, a puzzle-loving twelve-year-old whose birthday gift to his younger sister—a decorative antique box with a secret compartment containing wooden tiles—leads to a treasure hunt involving the local town librarian, a policeman, and two enigmatic strangers. "It was important to me that the puzzles be seamlessly integrated into the story—it wouldn't do to have them shoehorned in whether they made sense or not," the author explained on the Ficlets Web log. Berlin added, "I really wanted to capture the joy and agony of what it's like to be a puzzle person—the frustration of getting stuck, the inability to think one's way out of a corner … and the great big AHA! that makes it all worthwhile."

The Puzzling World of Winston Breen garnered strong reviews. In School Library Journal Connie Tyrrell Burns described the work as a "delightfully clever mystery," and Jennifer Mattson, writing in Booklist, noted that "Berlin's puzzles are challenging yet satisfying, but they're also backed by a lot of storytelling flair."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, November 15, 2007, Jennifer Mattson, review of The Puzzling World of Winston Breen, p. 58.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, November, 2007, Deborah Stevenson, review of The Puzzling World of Winston Breen, p. 129.

Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 2007, review of The Puzzling World of Winston Breen.

School Library Journal, November, 2007, Connie Tyrrell Burns, review of The Puzzling World of Winston Breen, p. 116.

ONLINE

Eric Berlin Web log,http://www.ericberlin.com (October 31, 2008).

Ficlets Web log,http://ficlets.com/blog/ (October 8, 2007), "The Big Idea: Eric Berlin."

Winston Breen Web site,http://www.winstonbreen.com (October 31, 2008).