A New Orleans native, Denise McConduit was born to a very large family. The fourth of thirteen children, she regularly entertained her younger siblings with stories. Early on, she learned that she loved reading and drawing, art and dancing, and—not surprisingly—writing.
McConduit began writing poetry as a child. Her first magazine article was published in 1982, when she wrote “Youth Job Opportunities” for Black New Orleans magazine. She has since had articles published in Essence magazine and poems published in the New Orleans Tribune magazine. Two of her poems are on display in the New Orleans Riverwalk's Book of Legends. McConduit still keeps active in the poetry world and serves as secretary for the board of directors of the New Orleans Poetry Forum. She writes a weekly column for the New Orleans Times-Picayune about the recovery of her neighborhood after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.
McConduit graduated from the University of New Orleans with a degree in English. She has four children: Crishelle, Monique, Erika, and D.J. It was her youngest child's real-life experience with the Zulu parade that gave her the idea to write her first book, D.J. and the Zulu Parade.
Preserving cultural traditions through family stories is important to McConduit. She learned those values as a child, and it is what she wishes to pass on in her writing. New Orleans is well known for having a rich supply of customs and traditions, and McConduit captures the city's flavor and puts it in context for children. She feels that culturally rich children's books are essential, as it is important that kids see themselves in literature. McConduit advises aspiring young authors to capture and preserve the funny or unique characters in their families by writing about them. She is a frequent speaker and is involved in community efforts to preserve and celebrate the region's rich heritage.
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