Cathryn Hankla has been a poet, a writer, and an artist for almost her entire life and has just published her thirteenth book. She has been at Hollins College almost exclusively since she was eighteen, first as a student and now as Professor of English. Born in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia, she has gone on to win a PEN Syndicated Prize in Fiction, the James Boatwright II Prize for Poetry, and a Virginia Commission for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry.
If you don't want to get addicted to an author, look away now. Melina Marchetta's books are some of the most captivating I have ever read; from page one you will be absorbed by characters and worlds that will feel both incredibly familiar as well as wonderfully mysterious. But don't just take my word for it—Melina won the Michael L. Printz Award from the American Library Association for On the Jellicoe Road in 2009, Looking for Alibrandi was turned into a movie in 2000 in her native Australia, and her books have been translated into eighteen languages.
This is the first year I'm spending Christmas (and my birthday—Boxing Day baby!) in America, away from Mom, my family, and Yorkshire pudding. Which means the presents I send and receive this year need to be light enough to ship across the Atlantic without breaking the bank. Many of us have friends and family far away from where we live, but we still want our gifts to be thoughtful, personal, and come in lovely little packages. With that in mind, I've collected a number of gift ideas that are light on shipping but heavy on holiday cheer (as with last year's gift guide, I've tried to keep reasonable budgets in mind).
If Thanksgiving is a time for us to be grateful for what we have, Giving Tuesday and the gift-buying period is the perfect time to put that feeling into action. Books and literacy can change the world we live in for the better: children who are read to at home report higher abilities in math and writing; literacy rates are an important indicator of future earning potential; reading enjoyment has been reported as more important for children’s educational success than their family's socio-economic status. With that in mind, below are 10 charities devoted to getting books into the hands of those without the resources to obtain them as well as improving the literacy of children and adults worldwide.
Rabbi Marc Katz is that rare person who can go from teaching a room full of restless children to a room full of work-weary adults, speak passionately about the environment and feminism and then relate them to Torah passages, and lead a powerful sermon before telling you in detail where exactly you should go for pizza in Park Slope. Marc is the Associate Rabbi at Congregation Beth Elohim in Brooklyn, has published a number of articles, and his first book came out in September, The Heart of Loneliness: How Jewish Wisdom Can Help You Cope and Find Comfort. Here, Marc talks about what it's like to be a first-time author, the struggles of self-marketing, how loneliness seeps into all of our lives, and the ways in which we can reach out for ourselves and for others.
Now that wintery weather is starting to kick in (at least here in the Northeast), it's time to hibernate and start entering all those writing contests you've been putting off over the summer. If you would like a professional edit before you enter, please contact me for a 10% discount by referencing this blog post in your initial email.
I'm lucky enough today to not only have an incredible book designer here on the Anablog, but the person who designed the cover of Rachel Cohn's newest fiction book, Kill All Happies (out May 2017). The cover is revealed at the end of this interview. Marci Senders is designer extraordinaire at Disney-Hyperion and you can see some of her beautiful work below. Marci received her BFA in Graphic Design from Tyler School of Art at Temple University, previously worked at Alloy Entertainment and Random House, and now lives in Brooklyn where she loves to crochet when she isn't coming up with stunning Pinterest boards for her newest book covers.
There are many reasons Jaclyn Moriarty is one of my all-time favorite authors. Aside from the fact that she is an incredibly lovely person with excellent taste in chocolate who wrote her undergraduate thesis on Roald Dahl, her writing is so thoroughly enchanting and gripping that I constantly find myself wishing I was living in one of the many extraordinary worlds she has created. From the pie-loving Farms in the Kingdom of Cello to the home of the Zings and Listen Taylor, Jaci's imaginative plots and unique voices will keep you enthralled time and time again.
This past month, I took myself off to a cabin in the middle of the woods for four days—no wi-fi, no TV, no indoor plumbing...just me, some books, and a bear for company (black, not toy). It was the perfect environment for doing nothing but reading. Some people need tranquility and birdsong to feel inspired or meet a writing deadline. Rachel Cohn is not one of them. She recently told me she left a writing getaway halfway through because it was too quiet. Whatever your creative needs, the following conferences, workshops, and retreats are held in a range of settings across the country to help you hone your craft, hear from the experts, and, hopefully, come away ready to send that book out into the world!