Last Friday, I attended the writing intensive at the Southern-Breeze SCBWI conference with Donna Jo Napoli. In addition to publishing dozens of books, she is also a linguist from Harvard and a mathematician from MIT. Serious chops.
Anyway, I mentioned to her that I particularly love her YA novel, BEAST, which is a retelling of the Beauty and the Beast story. The “Beast” is a Farsi-speaking, story-loving, Persian prince cursed by a jinn for not honoring the “old ways” during his kingdom’s transition to Islam.
The character of the “Beauty” is just as complex and rich. She said that she had wanted to evoke the experience of looking at a Byzantine mosaic. And now I must read it again with that in mind! It was very cool to “sit at her feet” and bask in the brilliance.
At the conference, I received the Crystal Kite award for CLEOPATRA’S MOON. I wish I could convey how grateful and honored I am to have garnered such a vote of confidence from my fellow children’s book authors and illustrators. I know, I know–I’m a writer–I should be able to articulate my feelings. Except that I get all tongue-tied whenever I try! It’s been very humbling because I KNOW what kind of talent we have here in our region!
So, thank you, y’all!
I’ve also been busy with buds, Shelli Johannes Wells and Jennifer Jabaley as we visit schools for our Georgia Peach Tour. This week, we spent time with high school writers at the DeKalb School of the Arts and the entire 8th grade at Grace Snell Middle School. We can probably give each others’ presentations by now, but the best part is the interaction with the students. They ask such fascinating questions.
I’m already looking forward to the Spring Southern-Breeze conference in Atlanta. Hope to see you there!