Coming soon! “Let No One Weep for Me. Stories of Love and Loss”
Had a fabulous day at Banneker High School in Washington, D.C. on Thursday; I spent time with three of Ms. Clare Berke’s 9th grade classes. Although all ended well, the day had a troublesome beginning — my car wouldn’t start. I had my fingers crossed it was just the battery, but feared I would be on the hook to replace the starter. Eugh! Plus it was the coldest day ever. However, lucky soul that I am, my neighbors, Tom and Suzanne, were out, and Suzanne offered me her car to get me to the school. My savior! Despite the delay, I made it on time to meet my escort, Nancy, a wonderful retired teacher who volunteers with the PEN/Faulkner Foundation.
I love these school visits, which are sponsored by the PEN/Faulkner Foundation’s Writer’s in Schools program. The kids always have great questions that often get me thinking about my novel in a new way. I especially appreciate that my book, The Color of My Soul, has become a fairly popular selection in the D.C. schools. One question that arose a few times from the teens was, “What audience is your book written for.” Originally, I saw it as a book for women of color in their 20s-40s, but I have been pleased to discover that high-school girls and boys are enjoying the story and connecting with the characters and the themes of identity, race and culture.
Thank you Ms. Berke and PEN/Faulkner!
Oh, and my car? Fortunately a call to AAA got the battery re-charged and I didn’t have to purchase a new one. Phew!
Sending my best wishes to all for a happy new year!
“It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace.” ~ Agnes M. Pharo
In January, Yvonne Battle-Felton interviewed me for her weekly radio show “The Writing Life,”
I met Yvonne several years ago when we were both studying at Johns Hopkins, and was excited when she got back in touch and invited me to join her on her show, which airs in the UK. It was a pleasure to chat with her and share some writing tips.
Each student signed their name and added a message of gratitude.
I love talking to young people about writing and it’s such a great feeling to know that my work has touched someone else enough that they take the time to send a card. That doesn’t happen much in this world of technology. Thanks for making my day!
I just had the most amazing experience at a writers retreat in the Bahamas. There’s no better daily commute than a ferry to a private island and a morning doing writing exercises in a coconut grove. If there is a heaven, that’s where I was for a week at the Salt Cay Writers Retreat. Read more.
Thanks again to PEN/Faulkner for inviting me to speak with students at Trinity University in Washington, DC. As always I love getting the chance to talk to young people about writing!
Afterward, PEN/Faulkner posted an interview with me on their site.
Last month, I spent a week with the Hurston/Wright Foundation, leading a workshop for teens on the campus of Howard University. Hurston/Wright has been offering a Teen Workshop every year since 1996 and I was honored to be a part of it this year. I had nine enthusiastic students from eighth through eleventh grade from schools around the DC-metropolitan area. We studied fiction writing, poetry, plays, memoirs and personal essays. It was a fantastic experience, and to see and hear the teens read their work during the closing ceremony at the end of the week was incredibly satisfying.
My hat goes off to full-time teachers, because preparing for and then leading the workshop for five days was a lot of work! Well worth it, though.
Many thanks to Hurston/Wright for inviting me to participate and for all the work this organization does to promote and encourage writing in the African American community. Please visit their website and consider sending a donation. The work they do is important in not only educating and encouraging young writers, but also in preserving and sharing the work of black writers for generations to come.