Jeff Zentner (he/him)

“I became a writer after volunteering with young musicians at Tennessee Teen Rock Camp and wanting to tell stories for them because I was so impressed with their intellect and spirit. Now I have the honor of telling stories for young adults and young-at-heart adults.”


Jeff Zentner is the author of two New York Times Notable Books The Serpent King and In the Wild Light, as well as Goodbye Days and Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee. He has two books releasing in 2024: Colton Gentry’s Third Act, his adult debut, and Sunrise Nights, a verse novel coauthored with Brittany Cavallaro.

Among other honors, he has won the ALA’s William C. Morris Award, the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award twice, the International Literacy Association Award, the Whippoorwill Award, the Muriel Becker Award, and been long-listed twice for the Carnegie Medal. He’s a two-time Southern Book Prize finalist and was a finalist for the Indies Choice Award. He was selected as a Publishers Weekly Flying Start and an Indies Introduce pick. His books have been translated into fifteen languages. Before becoming a writer, he was a musician who recorded with Iggy Pop, Nick Cave, and Debbie Harry. He lives in Nashville.

Growing up, Jeff always had a thing for reading. His parents would drop him off at the library, where he would read until close. His favorite books were John Bellairs’s A House With a Clock In Its Walls and S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders.

As a teen, the goth kid who wore a motorcycle jacket even when the thermometer hit triple digits, loved music. He played guitar and sang, wrote his own songs, and went on to release three solo albums and two more as a member of a band. Jeff worked with a lengthy list of recording stars including Nick Cave, Debbie Harry, and Iggy Pop. His volunteer work with young musicians at the Tennessee Teen Rock Camp and Southern Girls Rock Camp inspired him to write young adult novels.

These days, Jeff lives in Nashville. When he’s not writing, he likes to cook, run, hike, mountain bike, and kayak, but he avoids wasps. Jeff really doesn’t like wasps.

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