Born in the city she considers to be the ugliest in the United States, Newark, New Jersey, Susie Morgenstern takes solace in realizing that Philip Roth and Paul Auster were born there as well. She didn’t give it a second thought when a French mathematician proposed to her to swap New Jersey for the Cote d’Azur and Nice, where she has lived for 40 years.
She is perhaps the only francophone writer from the United States and has written about seventy books in French. She is one of the most popular children’s book authors in France and she has undoubtedly crisscrossed every square inch of this country to meet her readers. But the readers she knows the best are those in the priority zones for education, the so-called ZEP, throughout France, which have greater freedom in addressing special social and educational issues. She is the queen of the ZEP, having set foot in many elementary and middle schools from Saint Denis in Paris to Saint Denis in La Réunion. Her books have been translated into some twenty languages. She has received numerous awards, including the grand prix for children’s books, the Toten prize and the Mildred Batcheldor Award for literature first published in a language other than English, which was awarded for Sweet Letters from 0 to 10 (staged by Compagnie de l’Artifice, which won a Molière for the play in 2005), and she won a second time for Joker.
She has just retired from the University of Nice, where she had taught for 35 years. She tried to etch the memory of her courses into her students’ minds by making a festive experience out of each class. She is currently president of the Children’s Book Commission with the National Center of the Book.
She has now embarked upon a new venture by accepting the offer of director Daniel Sanzey to stage a production of her book Confessions of a Dining Diva. The DGAF proposes the show for the 2007/2008 season; to read more click here: Confessions of a Dining Diva.
In cities where the show will be scheduled, Susie Morgenstern has proposed to lead a writing workshop, to involve children directly with literature, and to provide those who have read at least one of her books to come and discuss them in an informal setting, which can either focus on her books, her career as writer, or her own life.
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