About Cyn

At the Illumine Award Banquet
Cynthia Leitich Smith is the critically acclaimed, New York Times and Publishers Weekly best-selling author of the Feral series, which includes Feral Nights Feral Curse and Feral Pride, as well as the Tantalize series, which includes Tantalize, Eternal, Blessed and Diabolical.

Two graphic novels, Tantalize: Kieren's Story and Eternal: Zachary's Story, both illustrated by Ming Doyle, complete the Tantalize series.

These adventure-fantasies are originally published by Candlewick Press in the U.S., Walker Books in the U.K. and Australia/New Zealand, and additional publishers around the globe. The series are often noted for their diverse protagonists, humor, social conscience and compelling action.

Cynthia is also the author of several award-winning children's books, including Jingle Dancer, illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu; Rain Is Not My Indian Name and Indian Shoes, illustrated by Jim Madsen; all published by HarperCollins.

Cynthia was named a Writer of the Year by Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers in recognition of Rain is Not My Indian Name. She is an enrolled tribal member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and serves on the advisory board of the We Need Diverse Books nonprofit organization.

Cynthia has been twice featured at the National Book Festival. Her titles have been honored among Notable Children's Trade Books in Social Studies, Oklahoma Book Award finalists, NEA Choices, CCBC Choices, Bank Street Choices, Children's Crown List selections, YALSA Popular Paperbacks, and more.

2015 Release
Of late, she was named the first Spirit of Texas Young Adult author by the Young Adult Round Table of the Texas Library Association and the first young adult author to be honored with the Illumine Award by the Austin Public Library Friends Foundation.

In 2013, the Austin chapter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators instituted the Cynthia Leitich Smith Mentor Award in her honor.

In 2014, Feral Nights was named winner of the Writers' League of Texas Book Award and Cynthia was appointed to the advisory board of We Need Diverse Books.

Cynthia is a popular writing teacher, serving on the faculty of the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults, and leading workshops hosted, for example, by SCBWI chapters, the Highlights Foundation, Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers and A Room of Her Own.

Cynthia makes her home in south-central Austin.

Cynthia has written several essays and short stories. These include:
Her website at www.cynthialeitichsmith.com was named one of the top 10 Writer Sites on the Internet by Writer's Digest and an ALA Great Website for Kids. Her Cynsations blog at cynthialeitichsmith.blogspot.com/ was listed as among the top two read by the children's/YA publishing community in the SCBWI "To Market" column. 

School Library Journal said of Cynsations, “If you read only one blog, this is it!”

More Information

Cynthia was born in Kansas City, Missouri. Her previous states of residence are: Missouri, Kansas, Illinois, Michigan, and Oklahoma.

Michigan Law School reading room
She graduated with degrees in news/editorial and public relations from the White School of Journalism at the University of Kansas, Lawrence in 1990 and from the University of Michigan Law School in 1994. At Michigan Law School, she was senior editor of The Michigan Journal of Gender & Law. Cynthia also studied abroad in Paris, France during the summer of 1991 via Tulane University Law School and the University of Paris IV.

See also Essays and Articles by and About Cynthia Leitich Smith, her Awards and Honors, and Author Events.

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