Karen Cushman was born on October 4, 1941 and grew up in a working-class family in Chicago, but never put much thought into becoming a writer. Though she wrote poetry and plays as a child, Cushman didn't begin writing professionally for young adults until she was fifty. She holds an MA in both Human Behavior and Museum Studies. Cushman has always been interested in history. It was this interest that led her to her research into medieval England and its culture, which led to both Catherine, Called Birdy, a Newbery Honor Book, and The Midwife's Apprentice, her second book and winner of the prestigious Newbery Award in 1996. Both Catherine, Called Birdy and The Midwife's Apprentice have earned many awards and honors including the Gold Kite Award for Fiction from the Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and was chosen as one of School Library Journal's Best Books of the Year. Cushman's work has also been recognized for excellence by Horn Book, Parenting Magazine, Hungry Mind Review, and the American Library Association.