Well, it appears that I have signed on to be Writer-in-Residence at this summer's Children's Literature MA/MFA Degree Program at Hollins University
. It was an act of solidarity with deliasherman
, who is, after all, going to be teaching The Craft of Writing for Children: Fantasy
for the full 6 weeks of the program (June 20-July 29); I've only got 2 weeks to fulfill, but I'll probably stick around.
It's cool. We get a house on the charming campus outside Roanoke, Virginia, at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains . . . and a light enough teaching schedule that we'll have time to work on our own writing. It's a long time, 6 weeks, to be away, but I'm thinking of it as a sort of writing-retreat-with-benefits; hell, many of the prosperous denizens of our Manhattan neighborhood spend summer in the country as is - and they don't even get paid to meet people who love to read and want to write, and stand up and make speeches to their adoring upturned faces....
To make it even more exciting the annual Children's Literature Association Conference
will be happening the week that we get there (chaired by Hollins' Children's Lit director /author Amanda Cockrell
- a Woman of Valor if ever I knew one!) - and this year's theme is Revolt, Rebellion, Protest: Change and Insurrection in Children’s Literature
. . . And so your hapless heroines find ourselves also giving a joint keynote speech on the subject of fantasy lit. as a genre of subversion. I can hardly wait to see what I say.
How, you may ask, did we get into this?
Well, a couple of years ago, we were invited down to give a talk at Hollins. A simple talk, on fantasy in general, writing . . . you know, the usual Ellen-and-Delia Entertainment. I don't quite remember what we said, but everyone seemed to like it - and more to the point, in our mere 24 hours there, we fell in love with Hollins - the soft old buildings with their history of women's education seeping through the stone . . . the smart, funny, knowledgeable faculty . . . the heavy, sweet air of the Roanoke Valley, with the hills in the distance . . . And before we left, we said, "Hey, if you ever need some summer faculty...!"
And now, here we are. Ready and willing to serve as called.
Even if you're not working every summer toward an advanced degree in Children's Lit
, maybe we'll see you at the CLAC? Or at the Roanoke Farmer's Market? Or at the Interstitial Arts salon that Mike Allen
& I are already scheming to organize.....? Yes, it's going to be a good summer. (And we're still flying up for Readercon, if I have anything to say about it!)
I'm going to need a car down there, aren't I?