C. Alexander London is an award-winning author of non-fiction for grown-ups, an accomplished skeet-shooter, a master SCUBA diver, and a fully licensed librarian. He has watched television in 23 countires, survived an erupting volcano, a hurricane, four civil wars, and a mysterious bite on his little toe in the jungles of Thailand. Currently, C. Alexander London lives in Brooklyn, New York.
If you are interested in having C. Alexander London 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 C. Alexander London:
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?
When speaking to younger audiences, I like to get kids involved as much as possible, regardless of the size of the group, exploring the idea of what a novelist does—how I take things in my life and in the world and turn them into the fuel for my stories. I want to spark their imaginations. When speaking to teens and adults, I do much more of the talking and I focus on the craft of writing and how I got there, and on the role I think books and stories can play in society.
What makes your author appearances unique?
Fireworks! Lion tamers! Feats of Strength! Not really. Alas. But I do adapt each event for the group of peoplestudents or adultswho have come to hear me, so every appearance will be slightly different and tailored to meet the needs of that particular group.
Do you enjoy making appearances for adult audiences? What do you do when presenting to adults?
I enjoy speaking to adult audiences as my previous life as a writer of nonfiction required me to do all the time. With adults I speak much more broadly of my story as a writer and what role I believe books and story-telling play in the lives of children and in communities. And I love speaking to librarians because my last job before writing full-time was as a YA librarian. Speaking to those groups is like going back to the land.
What can schools and libraries do to ensure a successful appearance?
Well, it always helps when the students are prepared in some way, by knowing at least a little about who I am and what my book is. If they've read it first, that's even better, but I realize that's not always possible.
Do you enjoy traveling to other parts of the country for appearances?
Yes! Even though Oliver and Celia Navel are based on me, and they hate to travel, I love it. I really enjoy sharing what I do with anyone who is interested and it's so much easier to go to them than inviting everyone to my little apartment in New York City. I simply don't have enough chairs or juice glasses.
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, as long as I don't have to pick sides in any school rivalries. I'm terrible at dodge ball and would hate to be picked last. I'm willing to work with any schools or libraries who are interested to make whatever kind of event they want a success. I aim to please!
What do you hope your audience will come away with from your presentation?
I want to spark their imaginations. I was not a natural born story-teller; I worked at it because it excited me. I would love to be part of fostering that excitement in my audience, to show the possibilities. And hopefully, to entertain them in the process. I shouldn't be coy here: I want them to laugh!
What was your favorite/most interesting/most memorable [choose one] appearance experience?
I was speaking at a boarding school in Asheville, North Carolina to every student the evening before they got out for Spring Break. Listening to me was the last thing they had to do before vacation, and I anticipated cartoon streaks in the air when I finished as students shot to the exits like Road Runner (I guess that made me Wily Coyote). When I was done, however, crowds of students gathered around to share their own private stories with me, or ideas that they hadn't wanted to share in front of everyone, or their wild aspirations. I must have stayed an extra hour just chatting with these high school kids who were already on vacation. It was extremely gratifying to know that they chose to keep engaging with the ideas I'd presented over what sounded like raucous celebrations in the dorms.
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