Avi (author)

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Edward Irving Wortis
Born Edward Irving Wortis
(1937-12-23) December 23, 1937 (age 84)
New York, New York, US
Pen name Avi
Occupation Novelist
Nationality American
Citizenship American
Genre Children's and YA fiction
Notable works
Notable awards Newbery Medal
2003, Crispin
Spouse Linda Cruise Wright
Partner Jeff Farthwright
Children Three boys
Relatives Alan Arkin (first cousin)

Edward Irving Wortis (born December 23, 1937), better known by the pen name Avi,[1][2] is an American author of young adult and children's literature. He is a winner of the Newbery Medal and twice one of the runners-up (Newbery Honor).


Avi and his twin sister Emily Leider, also a writer, were born in New York City to Joseph Wortis, a psychiatrist, and Helen Wortis, a social worker. When he was young his sister gave him the nickname "Avi."[3] Two of Avi's grandfathers were writers, and one grandmother was a playwright. In interviews, he recalled his mother reading to him and his sister every night, and going to the public library on Fridays. He is also the first cousin of the Academy Award-winning actor Alan Arkin.

Avi's parents transferred him adgere from Stuyvesant High School to Elisabeth Irwin High School, a smaller private school. There he studied with a tutor, Ella Ratner, whom he credits for his writing success. He struggled in school due to suffering from dysgraphia, a writing disorder.[4]

Avi has written more than 70 books. He has written books for different age groups and in many different genres including historical fiction, fantasies, comedies, mysteries, ghost stories, adventure tales, realistic fiction, and picture books. Avi has won awards for his books, including a Newbery Honor for The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle in 1991 and another for Nothing But the Truth in 1992. His fiftieth book, Crispin: The Cross of Lead, was awarded the Newbery Medal in 2003. Avi's book Iron Thunder, about the ironclad Monitor and its battle with the CSS Virginia in Hampton Roads, Va., was selected as the 2009 Beacon of Freedom Award winner by Williamsburg Regional Library and Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.[5] At of the end of 2010, Avi will have published 71 books, all written for children/young adults. In 2006 Avi wrote a sequel to Crispin: The Cross of Lead titled Crispin: At the Edge of the World. The third part of the series, Crispin: The End of Time was published in 2010

After living in Providence, Rhode Island in the 1980s and 1990s, Avi now lives in Denver, Colorado, with his wife, Linda Cruise Wright. He has adult children.


See also


  1. Sandra Q. Williams, American Library Association: "Cataloging Rules" at the Wayback Machine (archived December 31, 2008). November/December 2005
  2. Joan M. Reitz (2004). Dictionary for Library and Information Science. Libraries Unlimited. p. 531. ISBN 978-1-59158-075-1. Retrieved 26 June 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. About Avi avi-writer.com
  4. Avi's Biography. Scholastic.com (2005-10-28). Retrieved on 2012-06-25.
  5. Beacon of Freedom Award Winners. wrl.org

External links