Forgotten Author of the Week

I stumbled across Dan Elish one day as a teenager on a quest for a good book to read. I ran across The Worldwide Dessert Contest as was completely enchanted. A little bit of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with a dash of Homer Price's donut maker, this novel pays homage to the longstanding rapport between children and sweets. John Apple longs to win the Worldwide Dessert Contest, but all his delicious desserts have a penchant for changing into something else at the last minute. The way he overcomes this difficulty and takes first place involves a search for the greatest chef in the world, the defeat of the thieving title-holder of the contest and a run-in with a judge who has, thanks to John, a caramel apple bonded to his cheek from their last encounter. Elish writes with a sure hand of this sugary world, his tongue squarely in the area of his sweet tooth. For his ability to praise desserts in an endlessly original fashion, he deserves a blue ribbon.

Dan Elish is the author of the novel Nine Wives (St. Martins Press, 2005) and The Misadventures of Justin Hearnfeld, published in April 2008. Dan is also the author of Born Too Short: Confessions of an 8th Grade Basket Case, which was picked as a Book for the Teenage 2003 by the New York Public Library and won a 2004 International Reading Association Students' Choice Award. He has also written several other novels for young adults including, The Worldwide Dessert Contest, Jason and the Baseball Bear, and The Great Squirrel Uprising, all edited by Richard Jackson. Currently, he is working on a musical, 13, with Tony Award winner, Jason Robert Brown, that was produced at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles in the winter of 2007 and is currently slated to come to New York in 2008. In his career, Dan has also written non-fiction books for young adults, scripts for kids' TV shows (in particular Cyberchase (PBS)), music and lyrics for six musicals, funny corporate videos, and played piano for various Off-Broadway productions. He has received fellowships and scholarships to the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, the Sewanee Writers' Conference, and is a member of the Dramatist Guild. Dan lives in New York City with his wife and young daughter and son.