Who in the Wagner World Was … Paul Zindel?

Paul Zindel [1936–2003] … earned the [Pulitzer Prize] in 1971 for one of his eight plays, 'The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds.' He also authored 39 novels, including 'My Darling, My Hamburger' and 'The Pigman,' which are still widely read in high schools across the country. As a child, he moved frequently from place to place on Staten Island with his mother and sisters after his father abandoned them, an experience that profoundly shaped his later writings. He graduated [from] Port Richmond High School. At Wagner College, he majored in chemistry, while studying creative writing with playwright Edward Albee. [Zindel earned his bachelor's in 1958 and master's in 1962, and received an honorary doctorate in 1971.] He briefly worked for Allied Chemical and taught science at Tottenville High School until 1969. His “zany stories” and performances kept teenage audiences “screaming with delight.”

— An excerpt from Discovering Staten Island: A 350th Anniversary Commemorative History (History Press, 2011), edited by Kenneth M. Gold and Lori Weintrob, professor of history at Wagner College. Used with permission.

Have an idea for “Who in the Wagner World Was …”? Contact Editor Laura Barlament at laura.barlament@wagner.edu or 718-390-3147.

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