G. Neri is the Coretta Scott King honor-winning author of Yummy: the Last Days of a Southside Shorty and the recipient of the Lee Bennett Hopkins Promising Poet Award for his free-verse novella, Chess Rumble. His books include the novels Ghetto Cowboy, Knockout Games and Surf Mules, and a free-verse picture book bio, Hello, I'm Johnny Cash. His newest is the middle grade mystery, Tru & Nelle, about the childhood friendship between Harper Lee and Truman Capote. Prior to becoming a writer, Neri was a filmmaker, an animator/illustrator, a digital media producer, and a founding member of The Truth anti-smoking campaign. Neri currently writes full-time and lives on the Gulf Coast of Florida with his wife and daughter. You can find him online at www.gneri.com.
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Okay, that's the official version. Now this is me talking...
I am a storyteller, filmmaker, artist, and digital media producer. When I was in college, I made an animated film with jazz legend Chick Corea called
A Picasso on the Beach, which became a student Academy Award finalist and aired on HBO and Bravo for seven years. After that, I decided to become a filmmaker for real, and I wrote, produced, and directed my first independent feature film called A Weekend with Barbara und Ingrid. It opened in my favorite theater in Hollywood. Unfortunately, it also opened on the day of the Northridge earthquake of '94, making its release rather short.
I've taught animation and storytelling to inner city teens in Los Angeles with the ground-breaking group Animaction, producing over 300 films dealing with issues like teen violence, gangs, and drugs. I also co-directed the documentary Fa’a Samoa which followed a 15-year-old Samoan gangbanger through the mean streets of Los Angeles.
From 1993-2003, I helped pioneer the internet business, as head of production in two successful new media companies whose clients ranged from Disney, Mercedes, and Motorola to Microsoft, Reebok, and General Motors. In this time, I was also one of the founding members of the Truth teen anti-smoking campaign. For this campaign, I produced the first social media site to help connect student activists from all over. Unfortunately, I didn't see it as a big deal until Facebook took over the planet.
In 1999, I started writing and illustrating for kids, but it wasn't until I started writing for teens around 2004 that things started to happen. Now, I have my first three teen books out, a new agent, and a long list of projects to create. I couldn't ask for more.
I was also a member of the Class of 2K7, a debut authors group that included the likes of Rebecca Stead, Jay Asher, Melissa Marr, Carrie Jones, Sara Zarr, Cassandra Clare, Ann Dee Ellis, Jo Knowles, Eric Luper, Elizabeth Scott, Sundee Frazier, Julie Bowe, and way too many others to recount, all newbies with their first books coming out in 2007. How far we've come. Now that's class!
Some people are curious about my ethnic background. Well, I'm Creole (French, African, Spanish, Native American), Filipino & Mexican, or as we say Crefilican-American or more accurately Nafranishafripinocan (go figure). Actually, I feel I am a great example of globalization. Creole covers Africa, Europe, and North America, Mexican side covers the Hispanic countries, Filipino represents Asia. My daughter is half German too...she's gonna have to figure that out on her own.
I'm currently living off the Gulf Coast of Florida with my wife Maggie, who's a professor of sociology, and our daughter Zola, who likes to draw like her old man. I spend most of my time in my studio, but I do like to troll the rivers by our house looking for alligators.
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