Kirk, Connie Ann 1957–

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Kirk, Connie Ann 1957–

PERSONAL: Born February 14, 1957, in Wellsville, NY; daughter of Leonard A. and Mary Arlene Lewis; married Kenneth A. Kirk, 1983; children: Benjamin, Johnathan. Ethnicity: "Irish American and Native American (Seneca)." Education: Binghamton University, B.A., 1985, M.A. (English and creative writing), 1988, Ph.D. (English), 2004.

ADDRESSES: Office—P.O. Box 337, Painted Post, NY 14870. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Mansfield University, Mansfield, PA, adjunct professor of English, 1988–.

MEMBER: Modern Language Association, American Literature Association, Emily Dickinson International Society, Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.

AWARDS, HONORS: Everett Helm fellowship, University of Indiana—Bloomington, 2003; Mark Twain research fellowship, Center for Mark Twain Studies at Elmira College, 2003; Ezra Jack Keats/deGrummond children's literature research fellowship, University of Mississippi, 2004; Kerlan grant, University of Minnesota-Minneapolis, 2004.

WRITINGS:

FOR CHILDREN

Sky Dancers (picture book), illustrated by Christy Hale, Lee & Low (New York, NY), 2004.

NONFICTION

The Mohawks of North America ("First Peoples" series), Lerner (Minneapolis, MN), 2002.

J.K. Rowling: A Biography, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 2003.

Emily Dickinson: A Biography, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 2004.

Mark Twain: A Biography, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 2004.

Sylvia Plath: A Biography, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 2004.

A Student's Guide to Robert Frost, Enslow Publishers (Berkeley Heights, NJ), 2005.

Companion to American Children's Picture Books, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 2005.

WORK IN PROGRESS: Emily Dickinson and Children, for University Press of New England; research on American literature and culture, children's literature, and Emily Dickinson.

SIDELIGHTS: In addition to teaching English on the college level, Connie Ann Kirk is the author of several literary biographies as well as the picture book Sky Dancers. Her book J.K. Rowling: A Biography was praised by School Library Journal contributor Kathleen Simonetta, who wrote that the volume's "scholarly writing style" and discussion of the literary analysis of Rowling's "Harry Potter" novels would be useful to high-school students.

In Sky Dancers Kirk tells a story about a young Mohawk boy whose father and uncle are steel-workers helping to build New York City's Empire State Building during the 1930s. One of many Native Americans hired to work on steel beams high in the sky, John Cloud's brave father inspires his young son to conquer his own fear of heights. A Kirkus Reviews writer praised Kirk's detailed research into relevant Native-American culture and called the book a "true-to-life portrait of [Mohawk] family life and traditions," while in Booklist Jennifer Mattson noted that Sky Dancers "will work nicely to extend children's understanding of Native American traditions."

Kirk once commented: "I started out writing fiction in college and am somewhat surprised to find that most of my currently published books are nonfiction. However, I do love research, so I am pleased to be doing scholarly work—at least for now.

"I expect that eventually, though, the lure of characters, narrative, and language will draw me back to fiction. I have always seen myself as a novelist. I think it is the novelist in me that provides the curiosity about people as well as the narrative technique necessary to write biography. If each piece of writing is a journey, then a writing career is also a journey, where the scenery changes from time to time."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, November 15, 2004, Jennifer Mattson, review of Sky Dancers, p. 590.

Kirkus Reviews, October 15, 2004, review of Sky Dancers, p. 1009.

School Library Journal, August, 2003, Kathleen Simonetta, review of J.K. Rowling: A Biography, p. 179; January, 2005, Kathy Krasniewicz, review of Sky Dancers, p. 94.

Voice of Youth Advocates, February, 2004, Roxy Ekstrom, review of J.K. Rowling, p. 516.

ONLINE

Connie Ann Kirk Home Page, http://www.connieannkirk.com (January 5, 2006).