One of Michigan’s best known and most highly commended authors, Christopher Paul Curtis was born and raised in Flint and worked on an assembly line for thirteen years before moving on to other pursuits including college at U of M – Flint.
Mr. Curtis worked on the line at GM’s Fisher Body Plant #1 for thirteen years; his job, hanging doors on cars, was very physically taxing. He and his friend worked out a system that allowed each of them to rest for thirty minutes of each hour (instead of alternating cars, each of them would work every car for thirty minutes while the other took a break). Luckily for his readers, while on those breaks, Curtis wrote.
Curtis now has an impressive body of work in children’s literature, including Bud not Buddy, the story of a young boy who travels on his own from Flint to Grand Rapids during the Depression, and The Watsons Go To Birmingham – 1963, his debut novel about a Flint family who journeys from Flint to Birmingham, witnessing the bombings in that city first-hand.
Curtis, who as far as I can tell now lives in Windsor, Ontario, has written several other books for children and can lay claim to an impressive number of awards and nominations, including at least one Newbery Medal. His works will likely show up on other posts as I work my way through them.
Please take some time to watch excerpts from an interview with Mr. Curtis below. He talks about some of the facts of life unique to the Rust Belt, a region which includes my hometown of Saginaw. I guarantee that you will want to read his work after you listen to the interview. There are many resources online; google him to learn more about his interesting life.