Mary Downing Hahn

American author Mary Downing Hahn began her professional writing career later in life. She has written more than thirty young adult novels in a variety of literary genres. More than two million copies of these award winning novels have been sold. Although Hahn's novels are written for young adults, they can be enjoyed by adults as well.

Born in 1937, Mary Downing Hahn spent her childhood in Maryland. As a young girl, she loved to read and draw, but she wasn't interested in writing. Since she enjoyed telling stories, she chose to tell them through pictures. As Hahn grew older and entered middle school, the stories in her head became more complex because she wanted to go beyond just stories and into her characters' feelings. Therefore, writing became necessary in order to expand her stories. When Hahn was thirteen, she started writing her first novel. Although she never finished the novel, it served its purpose in stimulating her lifelong desire to write.

By the time Hahn reached high school, her writing took place in journals. Art still held an important place in her life, but writing was the most significant. In college Hahn wrote poetry and short stories. She wanted to publish them in The New Yorker, but she lacked the confidence to do so. Hahn did complete her education at the University of Maryland, receiving both a B.A. and later an M.A.

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