Faculty

Cynthia Leitich Smith

Cynthia Leitich Smith

Cynthia Leitich Smith is the New York Times and Publishers Weekly best-selling author of the award-winning Feral series, which includes Feral Nights, Feral Curse and Feral Pride, as well as the critically acclaimed Tantalize series, which includes Tantalize, Eternal, Blessed and Diabolical. Two graphic novels, Tantalize: Kieren’s Story and Eternal: Zachary’s Story, both illustrated by Ming Doyle, complete the Tantalize series.

Cynthia is also the author of several award-winning children’s books, including Jingle Dancer; Rain Is Not My Indian Name and Indian Shoes; all published by HarperCollins. Cynthia was named a Writer of the Year by Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers in recognition of Rain Is Not My Indian Name. She is an enrolled tribal member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and serves on the advisory board of We Need Diverse Books.

Cynthia has been twice featured at the National Book Festival. Her titles have been honored among Notable Children’s Trade Books in Social Studies, Oklahoma Book Award finalists, NEA Choices, CCBC Choices, Bank Street Choices, Children’s Crown List selections, YALSA Popular Paperbacks, Writers’ League of Texas award winners, TLA Spirit of Texas (YA) choices, and more. Of late, she was named the first Spirit of Texas Young Adult author by the Young Adult Round Table of the Texas Library Association and the first young adult author to be honored with the Illumine Award by the Austin Public Library Friends Foundation. The Austin chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators also instituted the Cynthia Leitich Smith Mentor Award in her honor.

Cynthia is a popular writing teacher, serving on the faculty of the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults and leading workshops hosted, for example, by SCBWI chapters, the Highlights Foundation, Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers and A Room of Her Own. Cynthia makes her home in south-central Austin.