Dear Teachers and Librarians,
I decided to become a writer in first grade. Iíd scrawled my first story along my paperís faint blue lines, and dropped my fat pencil on my desk. My teacher tiptoed over, read my story and said, “This is an excellent story. Other people will want to hear it.”
She led me to a room of third graders. I read my story to them Ė and I was hooked. I walked in that room a nervous first-grader. I walked out a writer.
Librarians and teachers including those in my own family have helped nurture my creativity every step of the way, just as you nurture other young writersí creativity today. So, on behalf of all of us, thanks!
If you are interested in having Sheila Turnage 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 Sheila Turnage:
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?
I like interacting with people. I like to know what your questions and interests are so I know Iím talking about topics youíre interested in.
In general, though, I can talk about my writing process, and the way life here in rural eastern North Carolina morphs into my books. I can talk about how I ďmetĒ eleven-year-old Miss Moses LoBeau, the narrator of Three Times Lucky. And about the art of Creative Eavesdropping Ė in other words, ways to tune into your own creativity and listen to your own characters.
I love writing with folks of all ages, and really enjoy leading writing workshops. Whether Iím working with seasoned poets, middle school writers or total newbies, sharing our creativity makes a writing workshop exciting and fun. And the results can be surprising. And gratifying.
What makes your author appearances unique?
My unruly hair. Just kidding. ☺ Of course if you want to talk about Three Times Lucky, Iím unique in that I wrote it. I love talking about that book, and the citizens of Tupelo Landing, and how I came to write about them. I also love talking about life in eastern North Carolina, and how bits of my life morphed into Moís life. I want kids to understand that you donít have to live someplace glamorous to be a writer.
You can write where you are. Like I do.
Do you enjoy making appearances for adult audiences? What do you do when presenting to adults?
I like to talk writing with anyone, but itís really important to me that I donít bore you! Iíd like to know what youíre interested in before I get there. Send questions! Let me know whatís up! Tell me why youíre inviting me! If I come see you I want to make sure you get something useful from my visit, and that we all have a good time.
What can schools and libraries do to ensure a successful appearance?
If weíre going to talk about Three Times Lucky, it would help for the kids to have read the book. And it might help for teachers or librarians to have done some preliminary discussion before I arrive.
Iíd really love to have some of the kidsí questions in advance. Or your questions, for that matter. That way I can make sure Iím talking about the things youíre most interested in.
If you or your students want to write with me (which I would love), Iíd like to have as much advance information about my fellow writers as possible Ė skill levels, what youíre already working on, writing goals, etc.
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?
Sure! I enjoy traveling. I can also Skype into schools and libraries when travel distances are an issue.
What do you hope your audience will come away with from your presentation?
I hope they leave with a sense of confidence and joy in their own creativity. I hope they come away knowing you can live ANYWHERE and be a writer. That a story set in eastern North Carolina, say, can work just as well as one set in New York or Paris. That as writers, we can write where we are. That we each have a story, and our stories matter.
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Do you have questions about an author visit or comments about this page? Please contact the author appearance coordinator.