At a time in life when most people are putting together the first draft of their resume, Ned Vizzini is sitting back debating which publishing company will distribute his latest book.
“I used to want to be a rock star, but I never had the appropriate clothing,” said 22 year-old Ned, who needn’t rely on his musical proclivities to bring him into the spotlight. For Ned, the spotlight has been shining down since adolescence.
At fifteen, Ned decided to submit some of his own work to the NY Press, a free paper he used to pick up on his way to school. “I thought maybe people would want to hear about what happens to me in high school.” He was right, and shortly after became a NY Press regular, sharing his life with the entire metropolitan area.
But not all were enthused by Ned’s articles. After failing to change the name of a summer camp that he wrote “sucked”, which resulted in the termination of various camp counselors, Ned’s peers turned on him. “Kids wanted to beat me up… Kids have wanted to beat me up many a time in my life,” said Ned, who deals with threats by making himself scarce. “I have a genetic disposition to avoid confrontation.”
Thankfully, there were plenty of people who did appreciate Ned’s candidness. Free Spirit Publishing offered him a book deal after reading a clip of his that was in the NY Times. “They said to me, teenage boys don’t like to read but we think they’d like your writing.” After one year of compiling works that he had already written, Ned released his praised first book titled Teen Angst? Naaah..., which was on Teen People magazine’s bestseller list.
“I speak at a lot of schools and people tell me, ‘your book inspires me to be a writer.’”
As Ned points out, writing isn’t a sure fire way to pay the bills. “Jobs and writers. Those two words don’t go together.” Luckily, literature isn’t his only passion. In fact, he is a student at New York’s Hunter College, majoring in computer science. “When I grow up, I want to program computers to write,” he said. “I like challenging my mind in different ways.”
Success and ambition don’t hinder his ability to be a normal twenty-something year old. Just like everyone else, he likes to kick back, watch Spaceballs on DVD or listen to Stone Temple Pilots. In many ways, this talented young writer is just your average Joe. He has an on-again, off-again romance with a girl named Naomi which he notes is a “cute name.” But by no means is he a player. “I am not a ladies man… I am not adept to talking to women.”
So what piece of advice does this successful boy-next-door have for us? To find out the answers, he advices people to look at the F&Q; section of www.nedvizzini.com. “I’ve given the shpeel so many times.”
Fun facts about Ned:
He was born on April 4th
He is an Aries, which is a sign known for its single mindedness
His father is his best literary critic
He can’t stretch or run
He has a terrible time remembering names and faces
George Orwell and Michael Crichton are his favorite authors
He plays the drums
The song he recorded with the band Wormhole at age 13 is being downloaded off the internet thanks to a mention of it in his first book
He doesn’t want to be famous