Abouzeid, Chris

views updated

Abouzeid, Chris


Personal


Born in MA; married; wife a writer; children: two. Hobbies and other interests: Playing guitar.

Addresses


Home—MA. E-mail—[email protected]

Career


Writer. Also has worked as a store clerk, teacher, children's magazine editor, production manager at a sailing magazine, secretary, telecommunications programmer, Web consultant, director of information systems for an online music company, and Java software developer.

Awards, Honors


Cordelia Ward fellowship, 1982; Massachusetts Artists Foundation fellowship for best fiction manuscript by a Massachusetts resident, 1989; Charles Angoff Award, Literary Review, 1995; Somerville Arts Council grant, 1996; St. Botolph Club Foundation grant, 1998; Pushcart Prize honorable mention, 1999, for "Background Noise," and 2001, for "Thirteen"; Bernard O'Keefe scholar at Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, 2001; Massachusetts Arts Council grant, 2004.

Writings


Anatopsis, Dutton Children's Books (New York, NY), 2006.

Contributor of short fiction and reviews to periodicals and online sites, including AGNI Literal Latté online, Boston Globe, Other Voices, Literary Review, Web del Sol, New England Review, Epoch, Southern Review, Northwest Review, and Harbor Review.

Sidelights


Before completing what would become his first published children's novel, Anatopsis, Chris Abouzeid developed a writing career primarily focusing on short fiction for adult readers. Despite his publishing credits—his stories have appeared in literary journals—as Abouzeid explained on his home page, he has been a long-time fan of children's literature. "Children's books—especially fantasy ones —are my first love…," he admitted. "And my all-time favorite books are still the ones that come with Newbery Medals, swords, dogs, magicians or ships on the covers." Abouzeid's first novel took approximately twenty years to complete; while finessing and reworking his manuscript for Anatopsis, he worked a number of internet-and computer-related jobs and also earned grants and kudos for his published short fiction.

Anatopsis follows the adventures of its title character, a thirteen-year-old immortal princess known to her friends

as Ana. The daughter of an immortal witch and a kind-natured human knight errant, Ana has inherited unusual powers as well as a burdensome destiny: to eventually rule her mother's corporate kingdom, Amalgamated Witchcraft Corporation. Although she feels an affinity with the peaceful ways of her father, Ana is pressured by her domineering and power-hungry mother to best her friend, Prince Barnaby Georges, in her academic studies with the semi-mortal and totally boring Mr. Pound. While Ana realizes that her mother hopes to fuel her daughter's move into the chairman spot at another supernatural corporate consortium, she and Barnaby soon realize that the sepulchral Mr. Pound has other plans: to gain control of a powerful talisman that will win him mega-god status.

Anatopsis "examines the balance of magic and nature, and the interplay of the characters makes for a good coming-of-age story," commented Lesley Farmer in her review of Abouzeid's fantasy for Kliatt. Writing in School Library Journal, Beth L. Meister noted that the author's "characters are clearly drawn" and Ana, Barnaby, and even Barnaby's dog Uno each have significant "roles to play in the story's development." While a Publishers Weekly critic dubbed the novel "fresh and entertaining," Meister concluded that "readers will laugh—and maybe even cry—along with Anatopsis, while learning … about wishes and what it means to be human."

Biographical and Critical Sources


PERIODICALS


Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, April, 2006, April Spisak, review of Anatopsis, p. 340.

Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 2006, review of Anatopsis, p. 127.

Kliatt, March, 2006, Lesley Farmer, review of Anatopsis, p. 6.

Publishers Weekly, April 17, 2006, review of Anatopsis, p. 189.

School Library Journal, March, 2006, Beth L. Meister, review of Anatopsis, p. 218.

Voice of Youth Advocates, April, 2006, Mary Arnold, review of Anatopsis, p. 56.

ONLINE


Chris Abouzeid Home Page,http://www.anatopsis.com (December 18, 2006).

Live Journal Web site,http://slayground.livejournal.com/ (December 18, 2006), interview with Abouzeid.