FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                  Date: October 23, 2002

                                                                                                Contact:  Cheryl D. Peck


Award-winning author Richard Peck to speak at UIS


SPRINGFIELD – Richard Peck, best-selling author of young adult novels, will speak on “Preparing the Literate for Change” at the University of Illinois at Springfield on Wednesday, November 6.  His presentation will begin at 7 p.m. in Brookens Auditorium, located on the lower level of Norris L Brookens Library.  The public is invited to attend; there is no charge for admission.

Sponsored by Friends of Brookens Library, Peck’s appearance will include a booksigning  following his speech.

Peck, of New York City, has written 30 novels for young adults and four novels for adults, including London Holiday and Amanda, Miranda. His young adult novel, A Year Down Yonder, was the only sequel ever to win the Newbery Medal (2001), the top prize for children’s literature given by the American Library Association.  Its prequel, A Long Way from Chicago, was a Newbery Honor Book in 1999 and a National Book Award finalist in 1998.

On April 22 in Washington, D.C., President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush presented Peck with a National Humanities Medal “for bringing the humanities into the lives of Americans.”  He was one of seven individuals and an institution selected for the prestigious honor.

This month, Peck’s newest novel, Fair Weather, received the very first prize awarded by the Chicago Tribune for young adult fiction.  The book, with all of its Illinois allusions, is the


story of Rosie Beckett, a 13-year-old farm girl whose life is forever changed by a visit to the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.  It also recently won the annual award for children’s literature from the Great Lakes Booksellers Association.

  Peck also has a new work of non-fiction called Invitations to the World, published this fall by Dial Penguin, and written for adults – teachers and librarians and parents.

  His book, Strays Like Us, was named among the Best Books for Young Adults in 1998, and Father Figure received the same distinction in 1979.  Four of his novels have been made into films, including Don’t Look and It Won’t Hurt, released as the movie Gas Food Lodging; Father Figure, released as a feature film by David Susskind; and The Ghost Belonged to Me, released as a feature film by Walt Disney under the title Child of Glass.

The author has won a number of major awards for the body of his work, including the Margaret A. Edwards Award from School Library Journal, the National Council of Teachers of English/ALAN Award, and the 1991 Medallion from the University of Southern Mississippi.

Virtually every publication and association in the field of children’s literature has recommended his books, including Mystery Writers of America, which gave him their Edgar Allan Poe Award for Dreamland Lake and Are You in the House Alone?

Peck was born in Decatur, Illinois, attended the University of Exeter in England, graduated from DePauw University, and served in the U.S. Army before becoming an English teacher.  In 1971, he left his teaching career to begin what has become a long and fruitful writing career.

For more information about Peck’s appearance at UIS, please contact University Librarian Jane Treadwell at 217/206-6597.