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Faculty: Gary Schmidt

Gary SchmidtGary Schmidt, Professor, English

Office: CFAC 287 (directions)


Educational Background

Professor Schmidt received his undergraduate degree in English from Gordon College in 1979. Thereafter he attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, receiving an MA in English Literature in 1981 and then a PhD in Medieval Literature in 1985. He joined the faculty in the Calvin College English Department in 1985.

Academic Interests/Areas of Specialization

  • Children's and adolescent literature
  • New England cultural history
  • Old and middle English language and literature
  • Creative writing
  • Writing for children and young adults

Recent Activities

Professor Schmidt is a prolific author of children's literature and young adult fiction. His most recent novels, Okay for Now and What Came from the Stars, were published in 2010 and 2012 by Clarion Publishers. His newest is Orbiting Jupiter; it will be out in November 2015. With his wife, Elizabeth Stickney, he has edited Acceptable Words: Prayers for Writers, and written several picture books for young children. He has received two John Newbery Honor Awards from the American Library Association, the first in 2005 for his novel Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy and the second in 2008 for his novel Wednesday Wars. In 2010, his Okay for Now was a National Book Award finalist. Professor Schimdt recently worked with Susan Felch to edit two volumes on religiously-themed fiction called The Emmaus Readers. Professor Schmidt, originally from New England, regularly leads the New England Saints interim course in January.


  • Vegetable gardening
  • Cutting and splitting wood

Favorite Books

  • The Little World of Don Camillo by Giovanni Guareschi
  • The Aubrey series by Patrick O'Brian
  • Bleak House by Charles Dickens
  • Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli
  • Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson

Additional Information