Jacqueline Woodson

woodson_000Twelve years ago, I heard Jacqueline Woodson speak at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s Fall Festival of Children’s Books.  

During the question and answer period, Woodson gave some advice that has stuck with me ever since.

Catherine, Called Birdy had just won the Newbery Medal, and it had the effect of renewing interest in historical fiction. An audience member was concerned. She was a writer, but her work-in-progress wasn’t historical fiction.  Should she switch genres? Should she try to make her story fit into an historical time-period?

Woodson’s advice (to paraphrase) was, Don’t worry about trends. Don’t worry about markets.  Just write the very best story you can write. If you write the very best story you can, it will find a market. Just write your best.

Good advice for writers, and for everyone, IMHO.

Jaqcqueline Woodson will be in the area again soon. She will give a presentation at the 13th Annual University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg Children’s Literature Conference on Friday, May 1.

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