Winner of the 2021 Kraken Book Prize for Middle-Grade Fiction
Raised on a farm in rural Illinois near the Quad Cities, Jude Atwood treasured the long drives into town for groceries and library books. The small towns in the region were brimming with opportunities for kids to be creative. The library hosted poster contests; the newspaper had a kids’ cooking feature. Once, Jude took youth summer classes in Parody, Movie Appreciation, and Latex Mask-making at the local community college. He wrote songs about garbage bags, learned about Alfred Hitchcock, and made a shrunken head.
He got his first job at fifteen: detasseling, pulling the reproductive parts off of corn plants for a seed corn company making hybrid varieties of corn. At Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, Jude competed in intercollegiate forensics, where he learned the value of a well-timed joke and the fact that your audience always has something to teach you. He moved to Orange County, California, where it hasn’t snowed in over seventy years, and earned his M.F.A. in Film from Chapman University. In Hollywood, he worked very briefly as an assistant in the office of a man who is now famous for throwing things at assistants.
After that, Jude became a full-time community college professor, a vocation that continues to this day. He spent several years coaching the college speech, debate, & theater team, and he now devotes much of his energy to teaching mass communication and media literacy classes. He’s made many friends and (he hopes) very few enemies. In his career as an educator, Jude received a commendation from the city of Santa Ana for his work with students, and was honored with the Legacy Award from the American Readers Theater Association for contributions to the art of readers theater. His fiction has appeared in Broadside and Literally Stories, and his first novel, Maybe There Are Witches, won the 2021 Kraken Book Prize for Middle Grade Fiction.
His exploits can be followed on Twitter (@JudeAtwood) or Instagram (@JudeAtwoodSketches.)
Jude lives in California with his boyfriend and his dog.