Author, It's Kind of a Funny Story

Ned Vizzini

At a glance:

Vizzini began writing when he was 15 years old; his three books for young adults have been honored by the Today Show Book Club, the American Library Association, BookSense, The New York Public Library, and the Austrian JugendLITERAturpreis.

In late November 2004, author Ned Vizzini called the Suicide Hotline. Despite being the acclaimed writer of two books for young adults, Vizzini was reeling from self-imposed pressure to write a third novel – and over the previous summer, had begun to experience symptoms of clinical depression that would become very familiar to him. Cycling thoughts and difficulties eating became the norm, and by the time Vizzini called the Hotline, he hardly recognized himself.

When the operator answered, he told Vizzini that he wasn’t with the Suicide Hotline, he was with a Good Samaritan group – because the Suicide Hotline was overflowing that evening. Vizzini laughed – and began the journey that would lead to the publication of this third and most-loved novel, It’s Kind of a Funny Story.

On the advice of the Good Samaritan operator, Vizzini walked to Methodist Hospital, in Brooklyn, NY. He was admitted with “suicidal ideation”and spent five days in the adult psychiatric unit. There, he saw his own problems put into harsh perspective against those in the hospital who had no families, no homes, and none of the advantages he did. As soon as he left the hospital, he began writing about it, giving his situation to a fictional 15-year-old named Craig Gilner, and a month later It’s Kind of a Funny Story was born.

Now the award-winning 2006 novel is a major motion picture by Focus Features, starring Zach Galifianakis, Keir Gilchrist, and Emma Roberts.

Vizzini has spoken at schools and libraries around the world about mental health, writing, and how students can use the latter to help the former. He has spoken at UCLA; the Dalton School; the Brooklyn, New York, and Chicago Public Libraries; Murray State University; NYU; the National Council of Teachers of English; and at a Master’s Tea at Yale.

Vizzini began writing when he was 15 years old; his three books for young adults have been honored by the Today Show Book Club, the American Library Association, BookSense, The New York Public Library, and the Austrian JugendLITERAturpreis.

Vizzini’s career started at New York Press, an alternative weekly newspaper that published his true-life stories from Stuyvesant High School (the inspiration for “Executive Pre-Professional High School”in It’s Kind of a Funny Story). These stories were collected in his first book, Teen Angst? Naaah…, recently re-released in a new trade paperback edition from Random House.

Vizzini followed up with Teen Angst? Naaah… with Be More Chill (2004), the story of a high school dork who gets a pill that makes him cool.

  • In Memoriam:

    On December 19, 2013, our friend and client, Ned Vizzini, passed away. To honor Ned's work, we will keep his profile on the Gotham website accessible unless his family requests otherwise. He was a powerful speaker who inspired a generation of young writers. We will miss Ned very much.

    In the 'Related Links' section of this page is a link to his website where you can learn more about Ned and his writing.

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