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Todd Mitchell

Piper Writers Studio Visting Writer 2019

About Todd Mitchell

Todd Mitchell is the author of several award-winning books for young readers and teens including The Last Panther (2018 Colorado Book Award Winner and Green Earth Honor Book Award winner), The Traitor King, The Secret to Lying (Colorado Book Award Winner), and Backwards (CAL Award Winner). He created the graphic series Broken Saviors (available on Comixology), and co-wrote the graphic novel A Flight of Angels (Vertigo, a YALSA "Top 10 Great Graphic Novels for Teens"). Currently, he serves as Director of the Beginning Creative Writing Teaching Program at Colorado State University. He lives in Fort Collins, Colorado with his wife, dog, and two wise daughters. You can visit him (and learn about his squirrel obsession) at

Find Classes with Todd Mitchell

Date: Saturday, May 18, 2019, 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Type: Workshop, Generative Workshop
Genre: Fiction, Novels, Short Stories

Looking to create a story or character that leaves your reader wanting more? Learn the necessities of constructing compelling narratives with author and educator, Todd Mitchell. In this interactive workshop, participants will explore effective techniques for increasing conflict, revealing characters, and writing stories that readers (and editors) won't be able to put down. Topics will include:

More About Todd Mitchell

Shaw, Tucker. "Book review: 'Backwards' by Todd Mitchell a new take on teen suicide." The Denver Post, October 31, 2013.

Troubled-teen tropes grow like weeds in young adult literature: Troubled kid finds inner strength, troubled kid softens with romantic partner, troubled kid meets violent end, troubled kid exacts revenge. Bullying, isolation, hopelessness — it can all get repetitive, and predictable, and it’s not often a writer in the genre finds a new take.

Colorado author Todd Mitchell found one in his new book, “Backwards.” It’s a complicated setup, but Mitchell (who also wrote “The Traitor King” and “The Secret to Lying”) isn’t one to underestimate his readers: He knows they’ll get it.

Mischenko. "The Last Panther by Todd Mitchell – Book Review & Author Interview." ReadRantRock&Roll, February 14, 2018.

I grew up in a very boring cornfield. As a result, I learned to make up stories and entertain myself with my imagination from a young age. But I’m also dyslexic, so reading and writing were a struggle for me in school. The fact that I became a writer probably amazes some of my elementary and middle school teachers. I’ve learned, though, that struggling with something is a great way to discover things about it that others might miss. I guess I always wanted to be a writer, but it wasn’t until much later in life (in college) that I allowed myself to believe I could be a writer.

Hood, Grace. "Environmental Hardships Replace Villains In Fiction Written For A Climate Change Generation." Colorado Public Radio, June 1, 2018.

Today’s generation has grown up with climate change and developed different sensibilities, Mitchell said. They want to see problem solving and solutions.

“It makes sense that what they’re looking for, and I think what maybe writers are looking for, is stories that then move beyond that apocalypse. And say, ‘How do we take a really difficult situation but also find a way to turn it into something good,’” Mitchell said.

Keller, Richard. "Author shows young adult books can be thought-provoking." Coloradoan, June 21, 2014.

"Once I'm done writing a book, I feel like the book goes off to live a life of its own that's completely separate from me. I suppose books are like children this way. We can do our best to raise them and make them good, but once they move out of the house, we can't really take credit for what they accomplish. So when a book I've written wins an award, I don't feel like I've done anything special."