Kate DiCamillo, born in Pittsburgh in 1964, studied English Literature and worked for many years as a book dealer before she devoted herself to writing completely. She achieved an international breakthrough with her first two children’s books »Because of Winn-Dixie« (2000) and »The Tiger Rising« (2001). In both books DiCamillo tells how encounters with an animal act as a catalyst for the protagonists to confront repressed questions about their own identity and desires and through that to open themselves up to their fellow human beings. In the children’s book »Because of Winn-Dixie«, which was also adapted for cinema, it is the presence of the smiling dog (whose name is in the book’s title) that gives the ten-year-old Opal the courage to talk with her father about her mother’s abandonment. In the »Süddeutsche Zeitung« in 2001 Christine Knödler speaks of a «wonderful, credible novel for children from child’s point of view, full of wit, deep meaning and wisdom. Never intentionally conjured up, but simply presented, not unnecessarily dramatized, but not trivialized.« In »The Tiger Rising« it is through the discovery of a caged tiger and encounter with the seemingly fearless Sixtine of the same age that the twelve-year-old Rob, who is bullied by his fellow classmates, learns that only he can change his situation. The freeing of the tiger is just the first step. Also in her most successful and then filmed children’s book »The Tale of Despereaux« (2003) Kate DiCamillo tells of the courage it takes to overcome your own fears and recognize your own ideas about life. In the author’s children’s books it is always a change of perspective through a journey into the unknown or a chain of events that turns the protagonists’ daily life inside out and creates opportunities, as in »The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane« (2003) or in her most recent young adult book »The Magician’s Elephant« (2009). In her current children’s book written with the renowned author Alison McGhee, »Bink & Gollie« (2010), using great humor she tells about the friendship between two girls who could not be more different, and their adventures between imagination and reality.
Kate DiCamillo has received numerous national and international awards, including nominations for the German Youth Literature Prize in 2002 for »Because of Winn-Dixie« and in 2005 for »The Tale of Despereaux«, for which she received, in 2004, the most important prize for children’s literature in the U.S., the Newbery Medal. Kate DiCamillo lives in Minneapolis.