"I'm at the mercy of whatever character comes into my head." -- Kate DiCamillo
Katrina Elizabeth DiCamillo (b. March 25, 1964) is an American children's author. She is known for the Newbery Medal-winning book The Tale of Despereaux, the Newbery Honor book Because of Winn-Dixie, and the Mercy Watson series, plus numerous other award-winning and honored books.
Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania of Italian descent, DiCamillo suffered from chronic pneumonia. At age 5, she moved to Clermont, Florida for her health (warmer climate) with her mother and older brother, Curt DiCamillo, who would become a noted architectural historian. Her mother was a teacher. Her father stayed behind to sell his orthodontic practice and never rejoined the family in Florida.In 1987 DiCamillo received an English degree at the University of Florida and worked for various jobs after graduation. At age 30 she moved to Minneapolis and began working at a book warehouse. This job gave her inspiration to write for children and allowed her to meet a sales representative for Candlewick Press, resulting in a draft submission of what would become Because of Winn-Dixie.
"Every well-written book is a light for me. When you write, you use other writers and their books as guides in the wilderness.""Everything I write comes from my childhood in one way or another. I am forever drawing on the sense of mystery and wonder and possibility that pervaded that time of my life.""Hands down, the biggest thrill is to get a letter from a kid saying, I loved your book. Will you write me another one?""I always write with music. It takes me a while to figure out the right piece of music for what I'm working on. Once I figure it out, that's the only thing I'll play.""I am busier now than I ever imagined I would be, but I feel blessed in that I have found what I am supposed to be doing with my life. It's wonderful to tell stories and have people listen to them.""I am single and childless, but I have lots of friends and I am an aunt to three lovely children.""I didn't know anything about writing a screenplay, but somehow I ended up rewriting a screenplay.""I didn't start working on children's books until I got a job at a book warehouse on the children's floor. When I started reading some of the books, I was so impressed.""I hate to cook and love to eat.""I have a Bachelor of Arts in English, which means I had a lot of formal training in reading.""I like to think of myself as a storyteller.""I think of myself as an enormously lucky person.""I thought I was going nowhere. Now I can see there was a pattern.""I was born in Philadelphia and currently live in Minneapolis. I write for both children and adults.""I work full-time in a used bookstore. I get up. I drink a cup of coffee. I think, The last thing I want to do is write. Then I go to the computer and write.""It distresses me that parents insist that their children read or make them read. The best way for children to treasure reading is to see the adults in their lives reading for their own pleasure.""My father leaving the family shaped who I was and how I looked at the world. By the same token, my father telling me fairy tales that he had made up shaped me profoundly, too.""My goal is two pages a day, five days a week. I never want to write, but I'm always glad that I have done it. After I write, I go to work at the bookstore.""Reading should not be presented to children as a chore, a duty. It should be offered as a gift.""Understand, I had absolutely no interest in writing; I wanted to be a Writer."
Her 2003 novel The Tale of Despereaux was inspired by a friend's son, Luke Bailey, who asked her to write about an unlikely hero with "exceptionally large ears".
In 2005, Because of Winn-Dixie was released as a film by 20th Century Fox. The Tale of Despereaux was released by Universal Pictures on December, 19, 2008, and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane was optioned by New Line Cinema and is in early pre-production. Her newest novel is The Magician's Elephant, and 20th Century Fox is adapting it into a film, hiring Martin Hynes (The Go-Getter) to write a script based on the book.
She is an aunt of three children and has a dog named Henry.