Nov - 21 - 2010
Last weekend, as part of the Authors in the Schools program of the Kentucky Book Fair, I had the pleasure of visiting Elkhorn Middle School to talk to their eighth grade students about reading, writing, and storytelling. After reading a chapter from the book we had a delightful discussion about the creative process and the reasons why we read and write. It was a real pleasure to meet and speak with the students and I was pleasantly surprised by the insight they brought to the conversation. When asked why we read fiction, one boy answered, “Because even though the stuff that happens might be fake, there’s still something true about it if it’s a good book.” That’s one smart 8th grader.
The day after, I had the honor of being one of the authors hosted by the Kentucky Book Fair and had the opportunity to meet and talk with readers from across the state. I shared a table with two young adult authors, Emily Ecton and Jessica Verday, and spent the day signing books, regretting that I can’t actually play the fiddle I made, and trying to find my car keys which were lost for most of the afternoon. It was a lot of fun and meeting Emily and Jessica was delightful.
I love talking to kids about storytelling so if you’d like to set up a school visit in your area, please get in touch with me so we can work out the details. I’d love to come . . . Read the entire post
May - 12 - 2010
After a lot of planning and hand-wringing by members of the Rabbit Room team, we’ve finally unveiled what we hope will be a meaningful event for years to come. It will take place on August 6-8th this year and we’ve christened it, the Hutchmoot. The goal is to provide a weekend of conversation, community, tasty food, good music, and great literature.
I’m excited to be a part of a session called “Perfected in Weakness” along with two wonderfully insightful writers, S.D. Smith and Travis Prinzi. We’ll be talking about literary themes of triumph through weakness and humility and I’m confident that it’ll provide folks with some good meat to chew on. Recommended reading for the session is the work of Walt Wangerin and J.R.R. Tolkien. I’m pretty sure there are some applicable angles in The Fiddler’s Gun as well.
The part of the weekend that I’m most excited about, however, is our special guest and keynote speaker, Walt Wangerin, Jr.
In my mind, meeting and hearing Walt Wangerin, Jr. speak is tantamount to meeting J.R.R. Tolkien or C.S. Lewis in the flesh. Wangerin’s work has been a giant inspiration to me. His National Book Award-winning The Book of the Dun Cow is one of my favorite books of all time, as is its sequel The Book of Sorrows. Wangerin is a master of elegant prose and complex character, and he’s a diligent miner of deep spiritual truth through imaginative fiction.
If you’re coming to Hutchmoot 2010, I look forward to seeing you there.
Apr - 26 - 2010
Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of speaking to a group of students at the Battle Ground Academy in Franklin, Tennessee. It was an honor to be able to talk with them about both The Fiddler’s Gun and the challenges of creative writing. I often worry that the generation coming up has abandoned the joys of reading and writing but the students I met were an inspiring surprise. They reminded me that the precious creative spark, though sometimes dim and lost among the ashes, is kindled yet and smoldering. I don’t know that there’s any greater joy an author can experience than to see the sparkle in eyes of his readers and my thanks goes out to the Battle Ground Academy for allowing me to see it in their students. If you or a school in your area are interested in hosting an event, contact me for details.