Laura Pedersen is an author, humorist, and playwright. She was also the youngest person at age 20 to have a seat on the American Stock Exchange, while earning a finance degree at New York University’s Stern School of Business. She wrote about that experience in her first book, Play Money, which received rave reviews and became a bestseller. At age 25, she was the youngest columnist for The New York Times.
Glamour magazine named Pedersen one of ten “Outstanding Young Working Women” in 1990. In 1994 President Clinton honored her as one of Ten Outstanding Young Americans. Pedersen has appeared on national television outlets such as CNN, “Oprah,” “Good Morning America,” “CBS This Morning,” “Today,” “Primetime Live,” and “Late Night with David Letterman.” She has also performed stand-up comedy at The Improv, among other clubs, and writes material for several well-known comedians. She has an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from Canisius College.
Pedersen’s books have won many awards and honors, including the Three Oaks Prize for Fiction, a B&N “Discover New Voices” selection, and a Borders “Original Voices” selection. Her fiction includes Going Away Party, the Hallie Palmer series (Beginner’s Luck; Heart’s Desire; The Big Shuffle; and Best Bet), the romantic comedies Last Call and Fool's Mate, and a collection of short stories called The Sweetest Hours.
Buffalo Gal, a humorous memoir about growing up in the economically devastated Rust Belt during the 1970s, was named best autobiography by ForeWord magazine, received an honorable mention from The Eric Hoffer Book Award, and an honorable mention at the New York Book Festival. Buffalo Unbound, humorous essays about the current revitalization of Pedersen’s hometown and the Western New York area, won the Indie Book Award in the Humor/Comedy category and was an International Book Award finalist in the categories of Travel Essay and Humor. Other nonfiction books include Trains, Planes, and Auto-Rickshaws and Life in New York: How I Learned to Love Squeegee Men, Token Suckers, Trash Twisters, and Subway Sharks.
Pedersen’s first children’s book, Unplugged: Ella Gets Her Family Back, was a Mom’s Choice Awards Gold recipient and won several other awards for its message about families and technology. Unplugged received a Skipping Stones magazine Honor Award for respecting multicultural and ecological awareness in children's literature, was selected by the United Methodist Women's Reading Program Committee for their children's book list, and won a bronze for best picture book for children of all ages in the Moonbeam Children's Book Awards.
Pedersen’s latest children's book, Ava's Adventure, is about the power of the imagination to entertain, and also features a multicultural family. Her children’s stories are developed around young people creating solutions for their problems without adult intervention.
Pedersen’s award-winning comedies and dramas have been performed in festivals and Off-Broadway. Her full-length musical This Will All Be Yours (lyrics and music by Charles Bloom) premiered at the Midtown International Theatre Festival this July, and her award-winning full-length play, The Brightness of Heaven, ran at New York’s Off-Broadway Cherry Lane Theatre throughout the fall of 2014. The show will open the season at Buffalo's 710 Main Theatre (formerly Studio Arena Theater) under its new name For Heaven's Sake this September.
Pedersen is also an ordained minister who occasionally gives sermons at Unitarian Universalist churches and fellowships around the country and in Canada. She belongs to the Authors Guild, the international literary association P.E.N. and is an honorary member of the Twentieth Century Club.