22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Trenton Lee Stewart

Portrait Trenton Lee Stewart
© Ali Ghandtschi

Trenton Lee Stewart was born in 1970 in the USA. He graduated from the renowned authors’ workshop at the University of Iowa, and has since published one novel for adults, »Flood Summer« (2005) and several books for children; he also taught Creative Writing.

In 2007 Stewart discussed the origins of his first children’s book, »The Mysterious Benedict Society« (2007) and its sequels »The Mysterious Benedict Society – The Perilous Journey« (2008) and »The Mysterious Benedict Society – The Prisoner’s Dilemma« (2009) in an interview with »Little, Brown and Company Books for Young Readers«, USA: »It was the puzzles that led me to write the book in the first place. I’d long had an image in mind of a child taking a difficult test that was more than it appeared to be. […] When a similar idea occurred to me later, I thought of it as a possible addition to the first one. From there the story began to take shape. So although the book might work without the puzzles, it would not exist without them.« The books are about the adventures of the children Reynie, Kleber, Klara and Constance, each of whom possesses remarkable talents. Curiously following up on a mysterious classified ad, the children have not only to solve a series of tricky puzzles, but must also – working secretly for the scientist Mr. Benedict and other allies – foil the plans of the unscrupulous Mr. Curtain. The differences between the characters and their distinctive individual strengths enable the children to choose from an array of solutions to the various situations they encounter. They thus impress both their comrades and the reader with consistent logical analysis, reasoning, knowledge, acrobatics and integrity. The nature of the characters underscores the author’s plea that children should not only be seen, but also appreciated and cherished. Through the use of ambivalently designed characters, Stewart deals with existential situations and feelings and also looks at aspects of our modern media society.

The first book in the series was included in the 2007 selection for »Best Book of the Year« by the American »School Library Journal«. Trenton Lee Stewart lives with his wife and their two sons in Little Rock, Arkansas, USA.