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Loizeaux, William

Loizeaux, William

Personal

Married; wife's name Beth; children: Anna (deceased), Emma. Education: Colgate University, B.A.; University of Michigan, M.A.

Addresses

Home—Hyattsville, MD.

Career

Educator and author. Johns Hopkins University Writing Program, Baltimore, MD, lecturer.

Awards, Honors

New York Times Notable Book designation, 1993, for Anna: A Daughter's Life; Notable Essay designation, 2002; Henry Bergh Children's Award in Fiction, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing designation, New York Public Library, Christian Science Monitor Notable Children's Book citation, and Golden Kite Award Honor Book for Fiction designation, all 2006, all for Wings; Maryland State Arts Council Work in Progress grant; Individual Artist Award.

Writings

Anna: A Daughter's Life (nonfiction), Arcade (New York, NY), 1993.

The Shooting of Rabbit Wells: An American Tragedy (nonfiction), Arcade (New York, NY), 1998.

Wings (young-adult novel), illustrated by Leslie Bowman, Farrar, Straus & Giroux (New York, NY), 2006.

Contributor of short fiction to anthologies and to periodicals, including TriQuarterly and Massachusetts Review. Contributor of essays to American Scholar.

Sidelights

William Loizeaux debuted as an author with a poignant look at his own daughter's brief life and death as the victim of VATER syndrome, an uncommon congenital condition. Loizeaux details his own feelings as well as the procedures undertaken to save the six-month-old baby in Anna: A Daughter's Life. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly found the work to be "written with luminous clarity and heartbreaking candor." Helen Epstein, writing in the New York Times Book Review, also had high praise for Anna, calling it an example of "honest writing that chooses to risk pathos and embarrassment rather than rewrite reality, that allows for humor, and that tracks the process of becoming a parent and the process of bereavement … with extraordinary precision."

Loizeaux examines another death in The Shooting of Rabbit Wells: An American Tragedy. Wells, who was twenty-one at the time of his death in 1973, was mistakenly shot by a police officer. Loizeaux had attended school with Wells, and in his book he attempts to trace his former schoolmate's life to discover how the young man's early promise led to his tragic death. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly faulted the author for inserting "slipshod" re-imaginings of some of the incidents and dialogue into his text, and Library Journal critic Faye Powell similarly considered such fictional additions "problematic." However, in Booklist, Brian McCombie asserted more positively that "Loizeaux creates surprising tension as his book drives to its bitter conclusion."

Loizeaux turns to juvenile fiction with Wings, a tale of a youth who cares for an injured bird and then must accept the day the animal will ultimately leave him. The story is told from the perspective of Nick, who looks back to the summer of 1960. Ten years old at the time, Nick rescues an injured mockingbird, names it Marcy, and nurses it back to health. The child of a widowed mother—his father died in the Korean War—Nick is a lonely boy, and through Marcy he learns the lessons of friendship he has missed—particularly about the importance of allowing others their freedom. School Library Journal contributor Susan Scheps, found Wings to be "both realistic and tender," while in Horn Book Joanna Rudge Long termed the novel "a touching, well-wrought tale." Long also observed that Loizeaux's writing is deft, [and] the bird lore authentic." A Kirkus Reviews critic had even higher praise for Wings, concluding: "Loss settles on the page with a longing that only time and reflection can heal, and that only a top-notch writer can create."

Biographical and Critical Sources

BOOKS

Loizeaux, William, Anna: A Daughter's Life, Arcade (New York, NY), 1993.

PERIODICALS

Booklist, January 1, 1998, Brian McCombie, review of The Shooting of Rabbit Wells: An American Tragedy, p. 768; September 1, 2006, Carolyn Phelan, review of Wings, p. 129.

Children's Bookwatch, November, 2006, review of Wings.

Critical Care Nursing Quarterly, May, 1996, Lisa Pilichi and Rae L. Schnuth, review of Anna, p. 88.

Horn Book, September-October, 2006, Joanna Rudge Long, review of Wings, p. 59.

Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2006, review of Wings, p. 847.

Library Journal, December, 1997, Faye Powell, review of The Shooting of Rabbit Wells, p. 130.

New York Times Book Review, March 7, 1993, Helen Epstein, review of Anna.

Publishers Weekly, January 4, 1993, review of Anna, p. 64; November 3, 1997, review of The Shooting of Rabbit Wells, p. 71.

School Library Journal, September, 2006, Susan Scheps, review of Wings, p. 21.

ONLINE

Johns Hopkins University Web site,http://www.jhu.edu/ (March 12, 2007), brief biography of William Loizeaux.

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