An Email Is Headed
Your Way

We've sent a message
so you can pick a new password.

Reset Your Password

Think of a password that is at least 6 characters long.

Success! You now have a new password.

Please be sure to memorize it or write it in a safe place.


Are you sure you want to exit?
Your password will not be reset!



Are you sure you don't want to finish?
You're almost done!

We are missing your email address.

Please enter your or your parent's email address. We will only use your email address to reset your password should you forget it.

Sign Up for Free E-Newsletters


You're Signed up for {{nlctrl.form.newsletters.join(',')}}

The next newsletter will arrive in your inbox within a few weeks.

hey, {{userData.username}}!

Edit Your Profile


You can only put stickers
where you see the dotted



You have to sign in,

g Go Back

Paul Zindel

Born: Staten Island, United States of America

Current Home: United States of America

Paul Zindel

I grew up on Staten Island with my mother and sister. When I was young, my father left the family, and I saw him about every other Christmas. My mother struggled to get money from him, and tried to keep us together, moving from apartment to apartment and coming up with “get-rich-quick” schemes. But because we moved around so much, each town offered a lush new backdrop for my imagination. By the time I was ten I had gone nowhere, but had seen the world. I dared to speak and act my true feelings only in fantasy and secret. That's probably what made me a writer.

In high school, I wrote my first play. Some of my classmates got the impression I had a strange sense of humor — macabre, I believe, was the term they used. A group of student government officers asked me to create a hilarious sketch for an assembly to help raise money. I decided that even if I could not succeed in the real world, perhaps my appointed role in life was to help other people succeed.

I went to Wagner College on Staten Island and majored in chemistry. But I found a mentor, playwright Edward Albee, who taught my creative writing course. He was one of my primary inspirations in writing plays. I felt very grateful because he took the time to help me. During my last year in college, I wrote my second original play.

After college, I worked for Allied Chemical as a technical writer. After six dreadful months of that, I left and decided to teach high school chemistry and physics. During my ten years of teaching, I continued to write plays. My first staged play was The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds. It is the kind of story that just sort of pops right out of you, because you've lived it.

Charlotte Zolotow, editor for Harper & Row, saw the TV production of Marigolds and tracked me down. She got me to write my first novel, The Pigman. She brought me into an area that I never explored before my own confused, funny, aching teenage days.

In 1969 I quit teaching altogether. I felt I could do more for teenagers by writing for them. I started reading some young adult books, and what I saw in most of them had no connection to the teenagers I knew. I thought I knew what kids would want in a book, so I made a list and followed it. I try to show teens they aren't alone. I believe I must convince my readers that I am on their side; I know it's a continuous battle to get through the years between twelve and twenty — an abrasive time. And so I write always from their own point of view.

I like storytelling. We all have an active thing that we do that gives us self-esteem, that makes us proud; it's necessary. I have to tell stories because that's the way the wiring went in.

Mr. Zindel won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his play The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds. To learn more about his life, check out The Pigman & Me, a memoir of his growing up.

On March 27, 2003, Mr. Zindel died of cancer at the age of 66. He was living in New York.