Sunday, March 29, 2009

Interview with STBA Committee Member Barbara Bietz

Barbara Bietz, author, blogger, and Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee member, was interviewed on the blog The Writer's Journey. In a very profound and philosophical conversation, she shared her insights into the writing process. Here's a sample:

The Writer's Journey: Taking the stance that creativity is a natural state, how do you view getting stuck?
Barbara: Creativity is a natural state, but so is getting stuck. Like the ebb and flow of the tide, there is a time for high-energy work, and a time for quiet stillness. Getting stuck is a time to listen more carefully to the inner voice. It is time to think, to ask questions of yourself and your characters. Getting stuck is an opportunity to stand back and ask, “What do I need?” It can also be an opportunity to regroup and nurture other aspects of your creativity – often resulting in a flood of new ideas. The hard part is giving in to being stuck, and letting the process take you to a new place.

You can read the entire interview here.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

More Honors for Richard Michelson

Image magazine, a journal that bridges "faith and imagination" has selected author Richard Michelson as Artist of the Month in their 20th anniversary issue! They say "The beauty of Michelson’s writing—whether it is in poetry or in his many award-winning children’s books—is that he always finds the human note, however paradoxical or ambivalent that note might be."

Richard, of course, won big in the Sydney Taylor Book Awards this year: he received a gold medal for As Good As Anybody and a silver medal for A is for Abraham, both in the Younger Readers category. The Image profile mentions these achievements, among many others.

Image also printed two poems by Michelson. Here's the opening verse of one of them, titled "Another Holocaust Poem" --

Another Holocaust Poem


I watch them enter, lined up, ark-like, two by two, chatting quietly,
and after the teacher, counting, passes, one pushes and the one pushed
begins the chase. This is how the orphans marched through Warsaw in 1942,
I tell the behaved ones, orderly and under orders, and I’m just about to start
that terrible story, the one they don’t yet know, when I pause to open the door,
as I always do, for a little air. And there they are again, arms akimbo,
like two stooges, the Angel of Death and the Angel of Forgetfulness,
those vaudeville comics, those incorrigible face-making kids,
stuck forever—you first—no you—in the undersized doorframe
of the museum I will, for lack of a better word, call childhood.

Read the full poem at Image's website. And congratulations to Richard for all his great accomplishments and for the well-deserved recognition.

Memories of Aranka Siegal

Holocaust survivor and memoirist Aranka Siegal is the author of Memories of Babi, a 2009 Sydney Taylor Honor Book. In this interview from The Book of Life podcast, she shares some of the memories on which her award-winning books are based.

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