"What I need is the dandelion in the spring. The bright yellow that means rebirth instead of destruction. The promise that life can go on, no matter how bad our losses. That it can be good again." – Suzanne Collins, Mockingjay.
Suzanne Collins was born in Hartford, Connecticut, on August 10, 1962 and was the youngest of four children. Her family moved a lot because of her father’s job with the U.S. Air Force. She spent time in Indiana and several years overseas in Belgium before graduating from high school in Birmingham, Alabama. She had limited access to television during this time, so spent a lot of time reading as a teenager. Some of her favourites that still inspire her to this day are Lord of the Flies, 1984 and A Wrinkle in Time. She also admits to being a "Greek mythology fanatic as a child".
After high school, she studied at Indiana University where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and Telecommunications. When she graduated she decided to continue studying and earned her Master’s degree in Dramatic Writing at New York University. Before becoming an author, she wrote for television, writing for networks such as Nickelodeon, WB Kids and PBS.
Her first published novel, Gregor the Overlander (Book 1 in the Underland Chronicles), was inspired by Alice in Wonderland. Collins lived in New York City at the time and the idea of falling down a rabbit hole was not familiar to a lot of the city dwellers, as they were more likely to fall down a man hole into the sewers below the city. So she created a story about an 11 year old boy who falls into old air duct grate in his building's basement and finds himself transported to a world far beneath the streets of NYC.
Four books later, she completed The Underland Chronicles and began her second series, The Hunger Games. The themes in The Hunger Games novels were influenced by her background as a military kid, with the books introducing grim 'adult' issues throughout the narrative such as genocide, poverty and biological warfare. Collins’ father was key to her research as a historian who served with the Air Force in Vietnam. "He had a gift for presenting history as a fascinating story. He also seemed to have a good sense of exactly how much a child could handle, which is quite a bit." Says Collins. "[The books] expose children to exactly the kind of violence we usually shield them from. They know all about violence and power and raw emotions. What's really scary is when adults pretend that such things don't exist."
There were also elements of her obsession with Greek mythology as a child, with the story of Theseus and the Minotaur being a key inspiration for the series. The classical myth describes how Athens would send seven youths of each gender into the Labyrinth to be devoured by the Minotaur. Theseus, the king’s son, volunteers himself, and this is what Katniss Everdeen does in Collins’s series. Collins has described Katniss as 'a futuristic Theseus'.
The Hunger Games series has had massive success worldwide, with more than 100 million copies sold, as well as spending more than 260 consecutive weeks on The New York Times best-seller list. Lionsgate released the movie adaptation in 2012 with Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth. It is the 21st-highest-grossing film franchise of all time, having earned over US$2.97 billion worldwide.
In April 2020 she released a prequel to The Hunger Games. Reserve The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes and collect from your local library.
- Many of the names in The Hunger Games series were drawn from Roman Gladiatorial names.
- She has two adult children, Isabel and Charlie.
- One of her favourite old movies is A Bridge on the River Kwai.
- She usually listens to classical music, as music with words sometimes distracts her thought processes.
- If she could have dinner with a deceased author it would be either Lewis Carroll or William Shakespeare.
- If she wasn’t an author, she would want to be an astronomer.
- She had two rescue cats, Zorro and Zabel.
- Her favourite subject in school was English.
- If she was stranded on a desert island and could only take three things, she would take matches, a limitless supply of drinking water and a survival book.
- Her father was a veteran and fought in the Vietnam War.
- Reserve Suzanne's titles and collect from your local library.
- Reserve the Hunger Games films and collect from your local library.
- Read the books on your device. Need help setting up your device for eBooks? Watch this video tutorial.
- Listen to the stories on your device. Need help setting up your device for eAudiobooks? Watch this video tutorial.
On the web
- Take a look at Suzanne Collins' website.
- This library has created a Hunger Games Escape Room for you to try out. Will you volunteer as tribute?
- Visit the official Hunger Games website.
- Enter The Hunger Games Wiki for fandom information.
- Take a look at these survival books to help you make it through the games.
Love the program? Complete the online survey.