Mitchell, Todd 1974–
Mitchell, Todd 1974–
Born January 8, 1974, in IL; married; children: one daughter. Education: Oberlin College, B.A. (English and creative writing), 1996; Colorado State University, M.F.A. (fiction writing). Hobbies and other interests: Whitewater kayaking, mountain biking, surfing.
Author and educator. Colorado State University, Fort Collins, instructor in creative writing and literature.
Knight Select Award for Outstanding Fiction; Fort Collins Arts Alive fellowship; Masterpiece Award, Portland State University Letter Contest; Colorado Book Award finalist.
The Traitor King (novel), Scholastic (New York, NY), 2007.
Syzygy (novel), Candlewick Press (Somerville, MA), 2009.
Also author of stories, nonfiction essays, and poems.
Todd Mitchell is the author of the critically acclaimed fantasy novel The Traitor King. In a TeensReadToo.com interview with Jennifer Wardrip, Mitchell stated, "I can only tell you one thing about this book, it's that it's fun. But not fun in some shallow, mindless, annoying way. Fun in a spooky, mysterious, adventuresome way. When I wrote it, I was trying to capture that feeling I used to get on summer nights when I played hide and seek in the woods with my cousins, and the sun was setting, and the shadows stretched out, and strange things seemed possible."
The Traitor King centers on eleven-year-old Darren Mananann, his sister, Jackie, and the children's eccentric Uncle Will. After the Mananann family arrives at Will's cabin in the Maine woods, they discover that he is missing, and a strange message leads the siblings to the town's local library. Darren and Jackie learn that members of their family possess magical powers, and they enter the fantastical world of Tir na N'Og, where they join forces with Nim Bol, a brownie, to locate Uncle Will. The children also attempt to heal the rift between the natural world and Tir na N'Og that was caused by one of their ancestors, an ancient ruler. "Mitchell's debut novel combines classic fairy-myth elements with quirky family dynamics and two likeable protagonists, to fine effect," noted a contributor in Publishers Weekly. "New surprises and plot twists keep readers enthralled," remarked School Library Journal critic Eva Mitnick, and Todd Morning, writing in Booklist, stated, "Mitchell effectively blends the contemporary New England and the world of Irish myths in this heart-pounding tale."
Mitchell's second young-adult novel, Syzygy, recounts the story of James, a high-school sophomore who enrolls at a boarding school where no one knows him. He uses his newfound anonymity as an opportunity and decides to re-invent himself as the person he has always aspired to be. However, James's attempts at reinvention backfire in unusual ways. As Mitchell commented of the novel on his home page, "Think The Catcher in the Rye meets The Matrix and add a dose of romance."
An instructor in creative writing at Colorado State University, Mitchell has also published a number of short stories, essays, and poems, and his work has received several honors, including the Knight Select Award for Outstanding Fiction. "I believe in the power of stories to change the way we think and act," the author stated on his home page. In addition to teaching at the college level, Mitchell also enjoys doing school visits due to the opportunity to connect with both students and teachers.
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, June 1, 2007, Todd Morning, review of The Traitor King, p. 64.
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Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 2007, review of The Traitor King.
Publishers Weekly, April 23, 2007, review of The Traitor King, p. 52.
School Library Journal, May, 2007, Eva Mitnick, review of The Traitor King, p. 140.
Voice of Youth Advocates, June, 2007, Karen Sykeny, review of The Traitor King, p. 165.
TeensReadToo.com,http://www.teensreadtoo.com/ (August 1, 2008), Jennifer Wardrip, "Interview with Todd Mitchell."
Todd Mitchell Home Page,http://www.toddmitchellbooks.com (August 1, 2008).