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R.I.P. Ned Vizzini, author of It’s Kind Of A Funny Story

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Ned Vizzini, author of It’s Kind Of A Funny Story, has died from an apparent suicide. He was 32.

Edison Price Vizzini grew up in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn, and while attending Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan, he published his first essay with New York Press. His continued freelance work led to an article in the New York Times Magazine, the title of which he later used for his first book, Teen Angst? Naaah, a collection of his teenage newspaper columns that he published in 2001. Vizzini's first novel, Be More Chill, followed three years later.

In light of the circumstances surrounding Vizzini’s death, his most scrutinized work will inevitably be It’s Kind Of A Funny Story, the 2006 novel about a suicidal 16-year-old boy who spends a week in an adult psychiatric ward—a story inspired by Vizzini’s own brief hospitalization for depression in 2004. The 2010 film adaptation—directed by Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden (Half Nelson), and starring Keir Gilchrist, Emma Roberts, and Zach Galifinakis—received light praise, and came off rather slight. But Vizzini’s novel contained a quietly unvarnished power, in the vein of other coming-of-age stories like The Perks Of Being A Wallflower. Its success led to the author speaking regularly around the country about writing and mental health. 

Vizzini’s other work included young-adult novels The Other Normals—about a boy obsessed with roleplaying games, who attends a summer camp where his fantasy world comes to life—and House Of Secrets, the first in a proposed trilogy he co-authored with director Chris Columbus. Vizzini had also made the transition from books into television writing, serving on the staff of NBC’s Believe, from executive producers Alfonso Cuarón and J.J. Abrams, and writing episodes of Shawn Ryan’s Last Resort and Teen Wolf with friend and fellow novelist Nic Antosca.

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