Chronicling Pinkwater


There’s lots of biographical information about Daniel Pinkwater “out there” in various media: magazine and newspaper articles, reference books, transcripts and tapes of radio broadcasts, autobiographical essays reprinted from radio commentaries, Web sites, and more. I know, because I have been going through all of this material during the past year while writing a book about Mr. Pinkwater’s young adult fiction. It’s all worth reading, because not only is Daniel Pinkwater a fascinating person, but most of what’s been published is humorous. Pinkwater is a great puller of legs, and he often says outrageous things to interviewers. The hapless journalists generally can’t tell what’s true and what’s made up, but of course it doesn’t really matter; in either case it makes great copy. For a real treat, first read Daniel Pinkwater’s hilarious, free-wheeling essay in the Something About the Author Autobiography Series, then compare it with any of the surrounding entries by uptight authors anxious about their immortal posterity in the pantheon of the literati.

Here are a select few of the very best places to find biography, autobiography, and opinions of Daniel Pinkwater :

  • Something About the Author, Autobiography Series. Detroit: Gale Research, 1987. v.3, 221-226. Priceless essay by Mr. Pinkwater. Great photos by Jill Pinkwater and from the Pinkwater family archives.
  • Daniel Pinkwater. Hoboken Fish and Chicago Whistle. Princeton, N.J.: Xlibris, 1999. Nearly 400 pages of essays, most of them originally broadcast on radio. Many are autobiographical. The book is in print. Buy it!
  • The P-Zone: Aileron’s Unofficial Pinkwater Website Browse the “Talk to DP Archives.”
  • The dust wrappers (or author statements if no dust wrapper) of most of Pinkwater’s books: photos and bio sketches guaranteed to split your sides!And finally, my own forthcoming book, The Agony and the Eggplant: Daniel Pinkwater’s Heroic Contributions to YA Literature. This gnarly title was of course suggested by Mr. Pinkwater himself. When she heard of it, my totally awesome editor, Patty Campbell, immediately said “Let’s use it!” (Patty is a Californian.) The book has been written and will be published by Scarecrow Press in early 2001, as volume 4 of the Scarecrow Studies in Young Adult Literature (a series with an Attitude; for example, the first volume wasWhat’s So Scary About R.L. Stine? by Patrick Jones.) My book will discuss nearly all of Pinkwater’s approximately 70 books, with special emphasis on half a dozen works of “Young Adult” fiction: Alan Mendelsohn, Snarkout/Avocado, Snarkout/Baconburg, YAN, YA, and Nifkin. The best thing about my book will be the dozens of quotes from Daniel Pinkwater himself. In addition to selecting favorite passages from many of his published or posted remarks, I will be sharing with the world some wonderful emails he sent me (in response to my brilliant and penetrating interrogations.) Oh, all right, bend my arm, here’s one of them:


    WH: “Is there any chance of another Snarkout book in the near future?”

    DP: “Doubtful.”

    WH: “Can I complain to any publisher that they are depriving me of my basic rights to the entire Pinkwater oeuvre?

    DP: “No. Never complain to publishers. They will just go home and yell at their kids.”

    The Agony and the Eggplant will be chock-full of such sprightly (and informative) interchanges. If esteemed webmeister Ed Weiss allows, perhaps this humble scholar will be permitted to serve up further installments of bio-critico-historiography-cum-fantasy concerning Monsieur Eau d’Rouge for the delectation of the discriminating visitors to this site.

    Walter Hogan, PH (Pinkwater Historian)
    Associate Professor, Eastern Michigan University