Frederic S. Durbin

Frederic S. Durbin grew up in the countryside of rural Illinois, where he spent his childhood exploring the fields and climbing trees, usually barefoot, immersed in the stories contained in books. His parents opened the town’s first bookstore, and his mother created the libraries for the four local elementary schools and served as head librarian there after many years of teaching fourth grade. As a student, FSD particularly enjoyed acting in musicals and performing with the band and chorus. He attended Concordia College, River Forest, Illinois (now Concordia University Chicago), where he majored in classical languages, devoured English literature and ancient mythology, edited the fine arts page of the college newspaper, and graduated summa cum laude. He traveled to Japan as a church volunteer, then taught English and creative writing at Niigata University for over twenty years.

In summer 2011, he relocated to Pittsburgh, where he was fascinated by the bridges and the meandering city stairways; he believes the forested hills must be full of stories that need telling. He married in 2013; he and his wife reside among the wooded hills of western Pennsylvania.

The author of two published novels and many short stories for adults and children, he has conducted literary interpretive programs and creative writing workshops for students of all grade levels. Also an actor at heart, he delights in connecting dramatic performance with writing pedagogy. He has worked as a writing coach with and is a dedicated supporter of CRICKET Magazine, visiting schools and libraries to help spread the excitement of reading and writing. He is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

Find Fred on his website, here.


  • Standalone
    A Green and Ancient Light
    Frederic S. Durbin
  • Standalone
    The Star Shard
    Frederic S. Durbin
  • Standalone
    Frederic S. Durbin



A Green and Ancient Light
“The prose is frequently as beautiful as the images it evokes [...] This gentle, engaging, and very personal coming-of-age story is mythic in its universality.”

Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“This is a magical book that will appeal to those who loved Neil Gaiman’s THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE and John Connolly’s THE BOOK OF LOST THINGS.”

Library Journal, Starred Review

“Durbin’s rhythmic prose and carefully honed imagery are so engrossing, I was completely disoriented by the sound of an elevator dinging outside my apartment in the midst of reading. The green of the forest—the leafy canopy and trickles of light through the branches—evoke a tangible atmosphere unlike any other book I’ve read this year.”

Chicago Review of Books

“Frederic S. Durbin’s A GREEN AND ANCIENT LIGHT. is a charming tale that combines fantasy and history into a quiet yet suspenseful story about a boy’s wartime summer in a small coastal town [...] Fans of fantasy authors such as Patricia McKillip will find a rewarding read.”

The Missourian

“A GREEN AND ANCIENT LIGHT combines beautiful writing, [...] romance, war, mystery, and faery fantasy into one compelling, delightful story suitable for grownup or not so grownup readers alike. Read on!”

Champaign News-Gazette

“Within a few pages, I found myself disarmed in a way I hadn’t been since my childhood, in the days when I routinely gave myself over to a book with full trust in the author to pilot my craft to its destination. Durbin earns this trust with a potent combination of lucid prose, tender introspection, and life-and-death suspense. A Green and Ancient Light is an intensely personal story that unfolds with the soft-focus nostalgia of a remembered childhood summer, but beneath its velvety surface hides a double-edged tale of political urgency and unyielding love. Some readers have compared it to Gaiman or Connolly, but I am taken back further, to Lewis and L’Engle. This is the sort of book a bright child might adore at age 10, then read again at 20, and at 40, to discover the layers she missed.”

Mishell Baker, author of BORDERLINE

The Star Shard
“Durbin has created a world that, though mainly confined to a single mobile city, comes alive with fantastic creatures and a varied cast of supporting characters. Cymbril herself is a strong heroine–loyal, resourceful, and brave. While this story is satisfactorily concluded with surprise revelations and limited loose ends, there is plenty of scope for a follow-up.”


“Akin to Philip Reeve’s Hungry City Chronicles but in a kid-friendly way […] a delightful fantasy”

School Library Journal

“Evocative imagery, an enthralling world, and a fully realized storyline that does not depend on future installments make this a standout among recent pre-YA fantasies.”

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (University of Illinois)

“Durbin expertly weaves magic, mystery, and music throughout the story, giving it a depth that is sometimes lacking in such children’s stories. THE STAR SHARD teaches important lessons about loyalty and determination and how both should be rewarded. It is, truly, an inspiring tale.”

Indie Reader Houston

“Durbin held us spellbound. [His] fantasy world is woven in tantalizing detail. His characters are multi-dimensional and original. He leads us through his world with equal measures of heart-stopping adventure and awakened awareness […]THE STAR SHARD is a must read for fantasy fans of any age.”

The News-Gazette

“At heart this is an old-fashioned tale of good vs. evil made distinctive by its roots in childhood fears and its gothic scenery, like a quirky campire story made large, or a warper celebration of Halloween.”


“Perhaps the most interesting volume published recently by Arkham House is DRAGONFLY […] As a horror-fantasy amalgam, DRAGONFLY is a marked success. Durbin is gifted with a prodigious fantastic imagination […] the verve, panache, and assurance with which DRAGONFLY is written make us marvel that it could be a first novel; Durbin is a 'find' in whom Arkham House can rightly be proud.”

Weird Tales

“On the line with Clive Barker’s THE THIEF OF ALWAYS. One thing is for sure, it will change some of your thoughts about Halloween.”


“Fans of Lovecraft and other horror writers will quickly learn to relish the name of Durbin […] hours of enjoyable reading. An outstanding story packed with many unexpected twists and turns.”

The Bookwatch

Awards & Accolades