Lois Lowry was born in 1937 in Honolulu, Hawaii. As the daughter of an army dentist, Lowry moved around a lot as a child. She lived in several different states and countries, including Japan. Lowry attended Brown University, where she was a writing major, but she left college before graduation to get married. Lowry’s marriage did not last, but she had four children who became a major source of inspiration for her work. Lowry finished her college degree at the University of Maine and worked as a housekeeper to earn a living. However, she continued to write, as she was filled with ideas by the adventures of her children. In addition to working on young adult novels, Lowry also wrote textbooks and worked as a photographer specializing in children’s portraits.
Lowry’s first novel, A Summer to Die, received the International Reading Association Children’s Book Award in 1978. The novel tells the story of a thirteen-year-old girl’s complex feelings toward her older sister, who is dying. Lowry has said that she does not like to include directly autobiographical information in her books, but it is possible that some of Lowry’s personal experiences informed A Summer to Die, as Lowry’s own sister died of cancer.
Since then, Lowry has written numerous books for young adults, including the popular “Anastasia” series and Number the Stars, which won the Newbery Medal and the National Jewish Book Award in 1990. She published The Giver, which also won the Newbery Medal, in 1993. Lowry went on to write three more books to form the “Giver Quartet.”
Lowry currently splits her time between Massachusetts and Maine, and continues to write.