Hello, hello! I'm just back from the Jewish Public Library where I spoke about my book What World Is Left. And today was special because my mum, on whose life the novel is based, came along to the talk, along with my dad. It was quite a crowd -- there were over 400 students from Montreal areaschools. It was also special because today is Holocaust Memorial Day -- and the book is about my mum's experience as a teenager during the Holocaust.
I have to admit I got a little choked up when I was reading the part in my book where the narrator's father arrives from Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. I think it was because as I was reading, I was imagining how my mum must have felt during those days. Writing and reading are both ways, I think, of opening our hearts to others.
I was really impressed by the students this morning -- they were super attentive even though there were so many of them! Also, many had great questions. A girl named Hannah asked if I planned to write other books about the Holocaust. I said I hoped to, but then I asked Hannah a question -- did she know any Holocaust survivors? (I got the feeling from her question that maybe she did.) And it turned out my hunch was right -- Hannah's grandmother survived the Holocaust. I really hope Hannah will interview her grandmother (be gentle when you do it, Hannah!), and that she will record her grandmother's words and perhaps turn them into a book one day, too!
I'm only home for a quick stop because I'm doing a writing workshop for students at the Blue Metropolis Literary Festival this afternoon, and then I'm going to the official opening event for Blue Metropolis. Renowned author A.S. Byatt is going to be honoured. I'll bring my notepad and hopefully, I'll get lots of writing tips to share with you, dear blog-readers.
Thanks to Blue Met and to Penny Fransblow, head of the children's library at the Jewish Public Library; and to Eva Raby, library director, for inviting me to speak today. And thanks to the amazing teachers for getting the kids to be so well-behaved. And special thanks and a big hug to my mum and dad -- you guys are the best!
And oh, a nice coincidence -- one of the amazing teachers I met this morning was Judi Freedman, who teaches Grade Five at United Talmud Torah School's Snowdon campus -- well, I taught Judi when she was at Marianopolis 13 years ago. And then, another friend and teacher was also in the audience -- Hildie Shadley... and it turns out she taught Judi when Judi was in Grade Four. I don't know about you, but I love coincidences! Write to let me know if any interesting ones happen to you today!
P.S.: Back home again after doing a workshop for students at Blue Met. I worked with students from three schools, all keen young writers. One student from College Notre-Dame, Alexandra, said she feels all excited when she starts to write, but then after she's written two pages, she loses her excitement. "I don't think it's so good anymore," she said. I told Alexandra she sounds like a REAL WRITER. That's how we all feel about our FIRST DRAFTS. So, Alexandra, stick with it -- write, and re-write, and re-write some more. Next thing you know, you WILL like your work -- it just takes a lot of effort to get to the point. Off I go -- to do a little RE-WRITING before the end of the day!