Laurie Schneider grew up in a small town in central Wisconsin dominated by paper mills, cranberry bogs, and corner bars. As a child she took refuge at the T.B. Scott Free Public Library, which was housed in a 23-room mansion replete with dumbwaiter and carriage house. She can still remember where the Ramona books were shelved beneath a window seat with a view of the Wisconsin river. Though she hasn’t lived in Wisconsin since leaving for college, her writing continues to circle back to the people, small towns, frigid winters, and mosquito-plagued summers she thought she’d left behind.
After earning a BA in English from Oberlin College, she worked for nine years as an editor at UC Berkeley before leaving to get her master’s degree in American Studies at Washington State University. Her thesis–a collection of poetry focused on Jewish identity–included several poems about her great grandparents, who were part of a small group of Jewish homesteaders in central Wisconsin in the early 1900s. Years later, those poems became the inspiration for her first middle-grade novel, GITTEL.
Laurie lives in Norman, Oklahoma, with her fellow former Wisconsinite poet, professor, husband, and hiking partner Crag Hill. By day, she works as a technical services specialist at the Dulaney-Browne Library at Oklahoma City University. By night, she works as a bookseller where she is thrilled to hand-sell her favorite middle-grade books–stories that still fill her heart and take her back to that window seat overlooking the river.