Dan Simmons was born
in Peoria, Illinois, in 1948, and grew up in various cities
and small towns in the Midwest, including Brimfield, Illinois,
which was the source of his fictional "Elm Haven"
in 1991's SUMMER OF NIGHT and 2002's A WINTER HAUNTING. Dan
received a B.A. in English from Wabash College in 1970, winning
a national Phi Beta Kappa Award during his senior year for
excellence in fiction, journalism and art.
Dan received his Masters in Education from Washington University
in St. Louis in 1971. He then worked in elementary education
for 18 years -- 2 years in Missouri, 2 years in Buffalo, New
York -- one year as a specially trained BOCES "resource
teacher" and another as a sixth-grade teacher -- and
14 years in Colorado.
last four years in teaching were spent creating, coordinating,
and teaching in APEX, an extensive gifted/talented program
serving 19 elementary schools and some 15,000 potential students.
During his years of teaching, he won awards from the Colorado
Education Association and was a finalist for the Colorado
Teacher of the Year. He also worked as a national language-arts
consultant, sharing his own "Writing Well" curriculum
which he had created for his own classroom. Eleven and twelve-year-old
students in Simmons' regular 6th-grade class averaged junior-year
in high school writing ability according to annual standardized
and holistic writing assessments. Whenever someone says "writing
can't be taught," Dan begs to differ and has the track
record to prove it. Since becoming a full-time writer, Dan
likes to visit college writing classes, has taught in New
Hampshire's Odyssey writing program for adults, and is considering
hosting his own Windwalker Writers' Workshop.
Dan's first published story appeared on Feb. 15, 1982, the
day his daughter, Jane Kathryn, was born. He's always attributed
that coincidence to "helping in keeping things in perspective
when it comes to the relative importance of writing and life."
Dan has been a full-time writer since 1987 and lives along
the Front Range of Colorado -- in the same town where he taught
for 14 years -- with his wife, Karen. He sometimes writes at Windwalker
-- their mountain property and cabin at 8,400 feet of altitude
at the base of the Continental Divide, just south of Rocky
Mountain National Park. An 8-ft.-tall sculpture of the Shrike
-- a thorned and frightening character from the four Hyperion/Endymion
novels -- was sculpted by an ex-student and friend, Clee Richeson,
and the sculpture now stands guard near the isolated cabin.
|Dan is one of the few novelists whose work
spans the genres of fantasy, science fiction, horror,
suspense, historical fiction, noir crime fiction, and
mainstream literary fiction . His books are published
in 27 foreign counties as well as the U.S. and Canada.
Many of Dan's books and stories have been optioned for film, including SONG OF KALI, DROOD, THE CROOK FACTORY, and others. Some, such as the four HYPERION novels and single Hyperion-universe novella "Orphans of the Helix", and CARRION COMFORT have been purchased (the Hyperion books by Warner Brothers and Graham King Films, CARRION COMFORT by European filmmaker Casta Gavras's company) and are in pre-production. Director Scott Derrickson ("The Day the Earth Stood Stood Still") has been announced as the director for the Hyperion movie and Casta Gavras's son has been put at the helm of the French production of Carrion Comfort. Current discussions for other possible options include THE TERROR. Dan's hardboiled Joe Kurtz novels are currently being looked as the basis for a possible cable TV series.
In 1995, Dan's alma mater, Wabash College,
awarded him an honorary doctorate for his contributions
in education and writing.
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