The energy and enthusiasm that surrounded the tents was electrifying and awe-inspiring. I started the day listening to John Green, author of the young adult novel, The Fault in Our Stars. I must admit that as I listened to him speak I felt a little like Mr. Slinger in Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse because all I could say was “Wow!” Green made the statement, “The relationship between the reader and the writer is one of mutual generosity.” These words resonated with me throughout the day as I heard other authors speak - readers and writers together making experiences that help shape lives.
I was thrilled to be able to hear the incredible Lois Lowry. She spoke of how the correspondences from her young readers about the characters she created in The Giver led her to write more about them in Messenger, Gathering Blue, and her newest novel, Son. Again, I was reminded of the relationship between reader and writer, and as Lowry’s books illustrate, the interdependence of all of us on each other.
Since I love children’s and young adult books, I spent most of my time in those tents. It was heartwarming to see all of the young adults who clapped and cheered as if these authors are rock stars. I suppose to these young readers, the authors are heroes of sorts, helping them to discover themselves through the words, ideas, and characters they share in their work.
It was a wonderfully exhausting day and I felt privileged to be among so many lovers of literature, young and old, well-known and not-so-well-known. Of course, I now have quite a long list of books on my “need to read” list. I’ve decided to start by rereading The Giver and then working my way through the other books in that quartet.
After each author spoke or read, they took questions from the audience. Some of the questions were about characters, motivations, or process. My favorite question that I heard asked of more than one author was, “What are you reading?” The reading/writing, reader/writer relationship – so important.