Kelly Barnhill is the author of four novels, one novella, over thirty short stories, and several high-interest nonfiction books for children. Her work ranges from literary to experimental to science fiction and fantasy to poetic to genuinely odd, and sometimes ricocheting in the spaces between. Her work has been highly praised in the LA Times and the New York Times and the Washington Post, and has garnered several starred reviews. She has received grants and fellowships from the Jerome Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, the Minnesota State Arts Board, Intermedia Arts and the Loft. She was a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award, the Andre Norton Award and the PEN American Award, and was given the Parents Choice Gold Award for her second novel. She hold a Masters in Education, and is a former classroom teacher. She is currently at work on a series involving pirates, poisons, alchemy, shipbuilding, the Holy Roman Empire, and a very clever boy. She is very excited about it. More information about Kelly, her writing and her teaching can be found at www.kellybarnhill.com
In my residencies, I teach kids to write the way real writers write - which is to say selfishly. We will be looking deep inside ourselves to find out what interests us, moves us, delights us, inspires us, enrages us. We will find the things that ignite our curiosities, enflame our imaginations and set our hearts a-buzz. We will discuss the mechanics of narrative structure, and how stories unfurl from incident to conclusion. We will talk about why we tell stories - and what those stories say about us. And we will write. A lot.
Stories are what make us human. We think in stories; we remember in stories; we communicate the truth of ourselves in stories; we learn in stories; we teach in stories; we get information about our world in stories; we even tell lies in stories. Stories are our most human trait. They are our birthright. I take storymaking very seriously, and I encourage my students to do the same. When we engage in stories, we connect ourselves to the larger human family - there is nothing more important than that.