Kelly Barnhill is the author of four critically-acclaimed novels, The Girl Who Drank the Moon, The Witch's Boy,Iron Hearted Violet and The Mostly True Story of Jack, and the World Fantasy Award winning novella, The Unlicensed Magician. She has also published multiple short stories of various descriptions (Literary, Speculative, Odd and Otherwise) that have appeared in a variety of venues. She has written essays, poetry, and a small collection of very strange nonfiction books for elementary students. She has received writing fellowships from the Jerome Foundation and the Minnesota State Arts Board, and was a 2015 McKnight Writing Fellow in Children’s Literature. She is the winner of the Parents Choice Gold Award, the Texas Library Association Bluebonnet award, and a Charlotte Huck Honor. She was a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award, the Andre Norton Award and the PEN/USA literary prize. She is a former classroom teacher, a former park ranger, a former bartender and a former wildland firefighter. She is a fast runner, a good singer, a terrible gardener, and makes excellent pie. 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.