Kristin Levine has been everything from an au pair in Vienna, Austria to a screenwriting instructor in Washington, DC. She is currently a mom and writer in Alexandria, VA. Her first novelThe Best Bad Luck I Ever Had was published in 2009. The Lions of Little Rock, which is based on true family history and sheds light on the little-known period immediately following the Little Rock Nine’s integration of Central High School in 1957, is her second novel.
If you are interested in having Kristin Levine make an appearance at your school, library, or conference, please use the online request form or send an email to authorvisits[at]us.penguingroup.com with possible dates, your school name, location, details about the day, and your contact information.
Author Appearance Q&A with Kristin Levine:
What can a school, library, or conference expect when you are making an appearance? What do you do differently with audiences of varying sizes, ages, and interests?
My presentations usually have four sections: discussing how I became a writer, talking about the inspiration for and history in my current book, explaining the editing process and ending with Q&A . How much time I spend on each section depends on the group. In addition to formal presentations, I've also done book clubs, pizza parties, and author's lunches, which allow for more casual discussions. I've even done workshopping sessions with selected students after the main presentation. I'm a former teacher, so I'm pretty high-energy, and feel comfortable with all sizes of groups.
What makes your author appearances unique?
I actually disliked writing when I was in elementary school, so I can really relate to students who aren't excited about writing. I also like to have the kids participate as much as possible, even in large groups. We play a guessing game called Fact or Fiction about the characters and events in my book, I call on volunteers to "act out" a brief scene from an early screenplay version of my book, and I pride myself on always getting the students to ask lots of questions at the end.
Do you enjoy making appearances for adult audiences? What do you do when presenting to adults?
Yes! I don't really find adults that different from children. No one likes to be talked down to and everyone loves feeling engaged. I have found that my books tend to work well with ESL (English as a Second Language) learners. The words themselves are fairly simple, but the stories are complex, making them perfect for adults who are just mastering English.
What can schools and libraries do to ensure a successful appearance?
Preparing the students beforehand by reading the book and developing questions is, of course, ideal, but I've also had great visits where no one has read the book. Paying attention to the logistics - making sure everyone has a seat, can see, has enough time to transition between sessions - is always appreciated and helps to make things run smoothly. Finally, please don't fear having a Q&A session at the end. Some people worry their students will just sit there in silence. Believe me, I won't let that happen!
Do you ever make appearances at more than one school in an area? Could schools and libraries from one area join together to bring you to their institution?
Of course! I'm always happy when this works out. And a Skype visit is always an option if the distances are just too far or too expensive
What do you hope your audience will come away with from your presentation?
I hope they will feel excited about my book and writing in general. I love it when students (or adults) come up to me afterwards to tell me about the stories they are going to write. Most of all, I hope my audience will realize that writing is not about getting it right the first time. It's about persistence, trying hard and slowly getting better - and those are wonderful skills to have no matter what you are doing.
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