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Author Profile: Neal Shusterman

Each month, we research our authors so that you can learn more about their background and how their stories came to life.



Where he comes from & where he is now: Shusterman was raised in Brooklyn, New York.  He currently lives in Southern California with his four children.

Where he studied: Shusterman spent his final two years of high school at the American School of Mexican City.  He then went to UC Irvine, where he double-majored in psychology and theater, was a member of the swim team, and wrote a humor column for the school newspaper.

You might know him from: Shusterman was awarded the 2015 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature for Challenger Deep .  He is also the winner of the 2005 Boston Globe Horn Book Award and the 2008 California Young Reader Medal.

When’s he’s not writing: Shusterman also writes for screen and TV; he has written for the “Goosebumps” and “Animorphs” series, and for the Disney Channel original movie “Pixel Perfect.”  He also has directed two short films and writes music and plays. He is also a game developer, having developed multiple “How to Host a Mystery” and “How to Host a Murder” games.

Shusterman on writing: “When I was a kid, I wanted to be everything. A writer, an actor, a doctor, a rock star, an artist, an architect, and a film director. I had a teacher who said “You can’t do that ? you’ll be a jack of all trades and a master of none!” But I had it worked out: I’d be a jack of seven trades, and master of three.

Then, in ninth grade I had an English teacher who really made a difference in my life. She saw my love of writing, and challenged me to write a story a month for extra credit. Since I desperately needed extra credit in her class, I took her up on the challenge, and by the end of ninth grade, I really began to feel like a writer. That’s when writing emerged above all my other interests as my driving passion.” - Shusterman

There’s so much more to know: Watch this video to hear about Shusterman’s process from Shusterman himself.