2005 Key West Literary Seminar
2005 Key West Literary Seminar

Master of Ceremonies
Seminar Session 1


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Michael J. Rosen is the author, editor, and illustrator of a wide variety of some sixty books, including works for both adults and children. Many of his efforts involve philanthropic volumes to benefit Share Our Strength's fight against hunger, on whose board of directors he has served for more than twelve years. He created six books whose profits benefit the organization, including two recent cookbooks, Cooking from the Heart: 100 Great Chefs Share Recipes They Cherish, and Baking from the Heart: Our Nation's Best Bakers Share Recipes They Cherish for The Great American Bake Sale, which include more than 150 of the nation's most respected chefs.

In 1990, Rosen founded a granting program, The Company of Animals Fund, which offered support to animal welfare agencies providing emergency or ongoing care to companion animals from the profits of seven books and two touring illustration exhibits with donated works by more than 400 contributing artists and authors. Over eleven years of grant-making, the Fund awarded $360,000 to 100 humane societies across the country, assisting people with AIDS to keep their companion animals, offering veterinary services for the pets of low-income families, supporting spaying and neutering programs, and aiding humane society efforts in areas of national disaster. Books that benefit the Fund include three anthologies of short stories, collections of commissioned personal essays and visual suites, children's books, and sidelines such as boxed cards and illustrated address books.

Rosen's many children's books, such as A School for Pompey Walker, Bonesy and Isabel, and Elijah's Angel, have received several distinguished citations, among them, the National Jewish Book Award, the inaugural Simon Wiesenthal Museum of Tolerance Once Upon a World Book Award for the best children's book of the year that promotes diversity and tolerance, and the Ohioana Library Career Citation in children's literature. Rosen is involved much of the school year working with teachers and children at literature conferences and schools throughout the country, sharing his enthusiasm and passion for literature and the creative process. Recent books include The 60-Second Encyclopedia, Avalanche, a Junior Literary Guild Feature Selection and Kirkus Pointer book, and A Thanksgiving Wish, illustrated by John Thompson. His chapter books include The Blessing of the Animals, and Chaser: A Novel in E-mails. His poetry for adults has been collected in three volumes, A Drink at the Mirage (Princeton University Press, 1985), Traveling in Notions: The Stories of Gordon Penn (University of S. Carolina Press, 1996), and Telling Things (Harcourt Brace, 1997). Individual poems continually appeared in magazines and journals such as The Paris Review, Southwest Review, Salmagundi, and The Nation. His work has been supported by three grants from the Ingram Merrill Foundation, as well as grants from the Ohio Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. He received his MFA in poetry from Columbia University in 1981.

Rosen's own illustrations have been featured in a cookbook he co-authored with Sharon Reiss, Midnight Snacks: 150 Easy and Enticing Alternatives to Standing by the Freezer Spooning Ice Cream from the Carton; in magazines such as Gourmet and The New Yorker; and in his children's books such as Kids' Best Dog Book, The Kids' Book of Fishing, Food Fight, and Down to Earth.

He lives in Central Ohio, where he served for nearly twenty years as literary director of The Thurber House, a cultural center in James's restored boyhood home in Columbus. During his tenure there, Rosen edited four volumes of James Thurber's work, including The Dog Department: James Thurber on Hounds, Scotties and Talking Poodles. and the Folio Society of London's The Genius of James Thurber.

Rosen continues to work in the field of humor as editor of a biennial, Mirth of a Nation, whose third volume May Contain Nuts was released in the fall of 2004. He has his own imprint, Emmis Humor, at Emmis Books, where he publishes four books of contemporary humor each year. His website, which contains review of all of his book, announcements of forthcoming titles, as well as activities, essays, and humor, can be found at: www.fidosopher.com.

Michael Rosen
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