The Short Version
Laurie Morrison taught middle school English for ten years and is the author of two middle grade novels: Every Shiny Thing (Abrams, 2018, co-authored with Cordelia Jensen) and Up for Air (Abrams, 2019). She collaborates with other authors to run Middle Grade at Heart, an online book club and newsletter. Laurie holds a BA from Haverford College, an MA from The University of Arizona, and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She lives with her family in Philadelphia.
The Longer Version
I’ve always loved stories: reading them, listening to them, and telling them. In fact, my youngest brother’s first memory turns out to be a far-fetched tale I once told in which I, his heroic big sister, was bouncing around our basement on my blue Hop 66 ball when an elderly visitor dropped him down the basement stairs. I rushed over to catch him, thereby saving his life. (I appear to have understood at an early age that good stories require vivid and specific details!)
Despite my love of books and propensity for making things up, it didn’t occur to me that I might try to write fiction until after my first year of teaching middle school English. As I got to know my students, I reconnected with the middle-school version of myself, who read Judy Blume’s Just as Long as We’re Together and Irene Berg’s Up a Road Slowly over and over, and who wanted both to experience the world through other people’s eyes and to know that other people felt some of the same things I did.
The summer after my first year of teaching middle school, I started to work on a novel of my own, and the summer before my tenth year of teaching middle school, I got my first book deal. During all those years in between, I did a whole lot of writing and reading and learning, especially during the two years I spent earning an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults at a magical place called Vermont College of Fine Arts. And I am still writing and reading and learning today.
I write realistic books about flawed, loving, lovable characters who make mistakes and bounce back and grow in messy, beautiful ways. I am especially drawn to writing upper middle grade books that appeal to 10-14-year-old readers, which is no surprise, since I spent ten years teaching middle school students and think they are some of the funniest, smartest, most fair-minded people around.
If I’m not writing or reading, you can often find me taking long walks even when it’s cold or rainy outside, making fancy pizza, or cheering on an odd blend of New York sports teams I grew up rooting for and Philadelphia teams I’ve adopted since settling here. I love iced coffee, just-out-of-the-oven pastries, and the ocean.