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Matthews, Andrew 1948-

MATTHEWS, Andrew 1948-

PERSONAL: Born November 17, 1948, in Barry, Wales; son of Richard Charles (a grocery manager) and Edith May Josephine (a homemaker; maiden name, Glanvil) Matthews; married Sheena Green (a management consultant), November 10, 1970. Ethnicity: "Welsh." Education: Reading University, B.A. (English and history; with honors), 1970.

ADDRESSES: Home—27, The Drive, Earley Reading, Berkshire, RG6 1EG, England. Agent—Rosemary Canter, Peters, Fraser and Dunlop, Drury House, 34-43 Russell St., London WC2B 5HA, England. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER: Writer. Yateley Comprehensive School, Hampshire, England, English teacher, 1971-94.

AWARDS, HONORS: Consell Català del Llibre per a Infants i Joves second prize, for À de la llumde la lluna (translation of Seeing in Moonlight); Moonsoon Taggert's Amazing Finishing Academy was shortlisted for a Smarties Award, as was Cat Song, 1994.

WRITINGS:

Wolf Pie, Methuen (London, England), 1987.

Dixie's Demon, Methuen (London, England), 1987.

The Quiet Pirate, Methuen (London, England), 1988.

A Summer Witching, Blackie (London, England), 1989. S. Claus—The Truth! Magnet (London, England), 1989.

Monsoon Taggert's Amazing Finishing Academy, Methuen (London, England), 1989.

Monster Hullaballoo, Methuen (London, England), 1990.

The Jar of the Sun, Hutchinson (London, England), 1990.

Mallory Cox and His Magic Socks, Dent (London, England), 1990, Dent (New York, NY), 1993.

The Great Sandwich Racket and Other Stories, Blackie (London, England), 1990.

Wickedoz, Methuen (London, England), 1990.

Mistress Moonwater, Mammoth (London, England), 1990.

Loads of Trouble, Methuen (London, England), 1990.

Mallory Cox and the Viking Box, Dent (London, England), 1991.

Monster Nursery School, Methuen (London, England), 1991.

Wickedoz and the Dragons of Stonewade, Methuen (London, England), 1991.

Jar of the Sun, Hutchinson (London, England), 1991.

The Great Granny Dust-up, Hamish Hamilton (London, England), 1992.

Denzil the Dog Polisher, Methuen (London, England), 1993.

(Reteller) Stories from Hans Christian Andersen, illustrated by Alan Snow, Orchard (New York, NY), 1993.

Mallory Cox and His Interstellar Socks, Dent (London, England), 1993.

Cat Song, Hutchinson (London, England), 1993.

Writing in Martian, Methuen (London, England), 1993.

Crackling Brat, illustrated by Tomek Bogacki, Holt (New York, NY), 1993.

The Orion Book of Silly Stories, Orion Children's Books (London, England), 1994.

The Check-out Princess, Mammoth (London, England), 1994.

The Story of Theseus, Ginn (London, England), 1994.

The Story of King Arthur, Orchard (New York, NY), 1995.

Tod and the Clock Angel, illustrated by Christian Birmingham, Frances Lincoln (New York, NY), 1995.

A Bunch of Baddies, Orchard (New York, NY), 1995.

Seeing in Moonlight, Mammoth (London, England), 1995.

The Beasts of Boggart Hollow, Orion Children's Books (London, England), 1995.

The Spooks of Biddlecombe Manor, Hodder (London, England), 1995.

Treasury of Funny Stories, Kingfisher (New York, NY), 1995.

Spooks to the Rescue, Hodder (London, England), 1995.

A Winter Night's Dream, Mammoth (London, England), 1996.

How the World Began, MacDonald (London, England), 1996.

The Mouse Flute, illustrated by Vanessa Julian-Ottie, Dell (New York, NY), 1997.

Marduk the Mighty and Other Stories of Creation, illustrated by Sheila Moxley, Millbrook Press (Brookfield, CT), 1997.

Darker, Point Horror Unleashed, 1998.

Monster Surprise, Mammoth (London, England), 1998.

Monster Mayhem, Mammoth (London, England), 1989.

Stiks and Stoans, Mammoth (London, England), 1999.

Family Stuff, Mammoth (London, England), 2000.

Dissolvers, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2000.

Freckles, Pearson ESL, 2000.

Love Street, Red Fox (London, England), 2000.

Crawlers, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2001.

Gsoh Red Fox, 2001.

Wolf Summer, Orchard (New York, NY), 2001.

(Reteller) The Orchard Book of Stories from Shakespeare, Orchard (New York, NY), 2001.

From above, with Love, Red Fox, 2002.

Moonchildren, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2002.

(Reteller) Book of Shakespeare Stories, Random House (New York, NY), 2003.

Flip Side, Delacorte (New York, NY), 2003.

Contributor of poems and stories to collections, including Your're Late Dad, Methuen (London, England), 1989; A Brontosaurus Chorus, Methuen (London, England), 1991; A Moon, a Star, a Story, Blackie (London, England), 1990; An Armful of Bears, Mammoth, 1993; Prickly Poems, Hutchinson (London, England), 1993; Magic Carpet, Ginn (London, England), 1995; Paws and Claws, Hutchinson (London, England), 1995; and Heart to Heart, edited by Miriam Hodgson, Mammoth (London, England), 1996.

Matthews's books have been translated into other languages, including French, Swedish, Dutch, Spanish, German, Danish, Italian, and Catalan.

ADAPTATIONS: Monsoon Taggert's Amazing Finishing Academy, was adapted for audio cassette, read by Jennifer Saunders, Chivers Audio Books, 1992; Monster: Hullabaloo and Monster Nursery School were recorded on audio cassette, read by Brian Glover, Chivers Audio Books, 1993; and Wolf Pie, and Stories from Hans Christian Andersen, read by Willy Rushton, were adapted for audio cassette, Chivers Audio Books, 1996.

WORK IN PROGRESS: "The Whilight Witch" trilogy, expected 2003.

SIDELIGHTS: Andrew Matthews has enjoyed several rewarding careers. After teaching English for twentythree years, he began his second career as a writer of children's books and reteller of classic tales. Although he had begun writing at age seven while recovering from an illness, Matthews did not truly pursue that interest until he was in middle age. As he told CA, "My first book was published when I was forty, so it only took me thirty-three years to get it right." Believing that "children's literature is currently better than it has ever been, and far superior to adult fiction, which seems to have forgotten that writers are meant to tell stories," Matthews's main aim is "to entertain my readers, and to tell the best stories I can tell as well as I can."

Over a fifteen-year period, the prolific Matthews has penned several dozen books, including adventures, fantasies, monster stories, and realistic fiction. Among his retellings number the tales of Hans Christian Andersen and plays of Shakespeare, the King Arthur Legends, and creation stories. "When I was first approached about the Orchard Book of Shakespeare Stories, I was very intimidated," he recalled. "The idea of tinkering with the work of one of history's greatest literary geniuses was frankly terrifying. Then I remembered that Shakespeare had taken almost all of the plots of his plays from other sources. My job was to turn the plays back into stories—to borrow back the stories that Shakespeare had borrowed. It was the hardest work I had ever done and contains some of my best writing (I hope)."

Book reviewers have focused their attention on Matthews's story collections, which are grouped by author or theme. The Stories of Hans Christian Andersen contains eleven familiar tales, which Matthews simplifies in the retelling. In a School Library Journal review, critic Karen James considered these tales to be a "serviceable" introduction to Andersen's work, though she felt they lack the depth of the originals. Matthews also used a liberal hand when retelling the twenty-four creation myths in Marduk the Mighty and Other Stories of Creation. Because teachers often use thematic collections of stories, requiring students to compare and contrast similar stories among cultures, Booklist reviewer Julie Corsaro, predicted that the work would likely interest teachers.

Matthews believes that he is, in his words, "a really lucky person because I love what I do. I'm one of the few people I know who wakes up looking forward to going to work." He both described his work habits and urged budding writers to persevere: "I work Monday to Friday, from 10 a.m. until 5:25 p.m. I write in longhand first. When my wife comes home from work, I read what I've written out loud to her. This helps me to hear what the story sounds like, and my wife tells me what parts of the writing don't work. I value her opinion because she's always right." Noting that there are "more great writers writing for children now than at any other time," Matthews advised aspiring authors: "Don't Give Up. If you start collecting rejection slips, it means that the world isn't ready for you yet."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, June 1, 1997, Julie Corsaro, review of Marduk the Mighty and Other Stories of Creation, pp. 1693-1694.

Publishers Weekly, August 2, 1993, review of Stories from Hans Christian Andersen, p. 81.

School Library Journal, December, 1993, Karen James, review of Stories from Hans Christian Andersen, p. 78; June, 1994, Suzanne Hawley, review of Crackling Brat, p. 111; July, 1997, Kathleen Odean, review of Marduk the Mighty, p. 86.

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