Literary Birthday - 4 November - M.T. Anderson

Happy Birthday, M. T. Anderson, born 4 November 1968

12 Quotes
  1. I love writing for younger readers. I love their passion. I love their commitment to stories. I love the way their heads are exploding with all the things they want to say and do. Thanks for reading the things I've written.
  2. I do not know what I regret. I sit with my pen, and cannot find an end to that sentence.
  3. I eat broccoli. I think about the plot. I pace in circles for hours, counter-clockwise, listening to music. I try to think of one detail in the scene I'm about to write that I'm really excited about writing. Until I can come up with that one detail, I pace.
  4. I can't tell you how irritating it is to be an atheist in a haunted house.
  5. As writers for young people, we have the immense privilege of ensuring that the young of our race and our adaptive and piebald language thrive together. Ours is, for that reason, a serious and joyful business.
  6. And I realise that the decision to be human is not one single instant, but is a thousand choices made very day. It is choices we make every second and requires constant vigilance. We have to fight to remain human.
  7. We love fantasy novels in which the characters think that they're peasants but turn out to be princes and kings.
  8. Sometimes reading other writers helps. You learn some little technique that turns out to be useful, or simply are re-inspired by the amazing things others do.
  9. I write for teens partially to work out whatever it was that I needed to from my own teenage years.
  10. We Americans are interested only in the consumption of our products. We have no interest in how they are produced, or what happens to them once we discard them, once we throw them away.
  11. Whispering makes a narrow place narrower.
  12. There's an ancient saying in Japan, that life is like walking from one side of infinite darkness to another, on a bridge of dreams. They say that we're all crossing the bridge of dreams together. That there's nothing more than that. Just us, on the bridge of dreams.

Matthew Tobin Anderson is an American writer of children's books that range from picture books to young-adult novels.His novels include Thirsty, Burger Wuss, Feed, and The Game of Sunken Places. He won the National Book Award for The Pox Party.

 by Amanda Patterson. Follow her on  Facebook,  Tumblr,  Pinterest,  Google+,  LinkedIn,  and on Twitter:  @amandaonwriting

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.

Literary Birthday - 2 November - David Whyte

Happy Birthday, David Whyte, born 2 November 1955

Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
to learn

anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive

is too small for you.
More Quotations
  1. The poet lives and writes at the frontier between deep internal experience and the revelations of the outer world. There is no going back once this frontier has been reached; a new territory is visible and what has been said cannot be unsaid.
  2. Read and admire, but then go back to first principles and ask the question yourself, in your own way. Dare to disagree.
  3. Ambition left to itself, like a Rupert Murdoch, always becomes tedious, its only object the creation of larger and larger empires of control; but a true vocation calls us out beyond ourselves; breaks our heart in the process and then humbles, simplifies and enlightens us about the hidden, core nature of the work that enticed us in the first place. We find that all along, we had what we needed from the beginning and that in the end we have returned to its essence, an essence we could not understand until we had undertaken the journey.
  4. P O E T R Y:  Language against which we have no defences.
  5. The price of our vitality is the sum of all our fears.
  6. It is always hard to believe that the courageous step is so close to us, that it is closer than we ever could imagine, that in fact, we already know what it is, and that the step is simpler, more radical than we had thought: which is why we so often prefer the story to be more elaborate, our identities clouded by fear, the horizon safely in the distance, the essay longer than it needs to be and the answer safely in the realm of impossibility.
  7. Art is the act of triggering deep memories of what it means to be fully human.
  8. The ability to speak the truth is as much the ability to describe what it is like to stand in trepidation at this door, as it is to actually go through it and become that beautifully honest spiritual warrior, equal to all circumstances, we would like to become. 
  9. At any time of life, follow your own questions; don’t mistake other people’s questions for your own.
  10. Vulnerability is not a weakness, a passing indisposition, or something we can arrange to do without. Vulnerability is not a choice. Vulnerability is the underlying, ever-present, and abiding undercurrent of our natural state. To run from vulnerability is to run from the essence of our nature. 
Sometimes everything
has to be
inscribed across
the heavens

so you can find
the one line
already written
inside you.

Whyte is an English poet of Irish extraction. His books include Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity, House Of BelongingThe Three Marriages: Reimagining Work, Self and Relationship, Everything Is Waiting for You, Pilgrim, and The Heart Aroused: Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America, which topped the best-seller charts in the United States. Visit DavidWhyte.com

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 by Amanda Patterson. Follow her on  Facebook,  Tumblr,  Pinterest,  Google+,  LinkedIn,  and on Twitter:  @amandaonwriting

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Literary Birthday - 26 October - Siphiwo Mahala

Happy Birthday, Siphiwo Mahala, born 26 October


Seven Quotes
  1. Writing, to me, is an offshoot of my passion for reading, a habit that I developed from an early age. I grew up as an introverted child and as the only boy in the family. Books became my closest companion. 
  2. Contrary to popular perception, writing short requires a lot of discipline as there is no luxury of time and space. One has to develop a story using very few characters, and every word used must be accounted for in order to develop a concrete and aesthetically powerful story.
  3. [My ideal readers are] imaginative individuals who allow words to invade their minds, penetrate their heart and soul, and take them to the highest peaks of ecstasy.
  4. I write at any given moment. Inspiration to write comes at the strangest of times and in very awkward places. I once wrote a story on the programme while attending a funeral. Sometimes when I’m overwhelmed by voices in my head I sneak out of the bedroom and sit in my study without my wife noticing.
  5. I always begin with handwritten sketches before using the computer. Much as computers are a more advanced medium, I find them quite obstructive when writing a new story.
  6. Books are resilient, enduring and will remain an essential part of our civilisation. They possess a certain aura of intimacy that cannot be obtained in iPods, kindles, computers and all such devices. They are reliable companions that keep you company when you go to bed, to the beach, in a taxi or even in a remote desert. Books are sources of entertainment as much as they are fountains of knowledge and wisdom.
  7. I always try to write work that resonates with the broader society and that would exhort people to take action. 
Mahala is a South African writer. He is the author of the short story collection, African Delights, and he received the 2006 Ernst van Heerden Creative Writing Award for When a Man Cries. He is the Head of Books and Publishing at the National Department of Arts and Culture.

Source for image 

Source for quotes: Mail&Guardian and Sunday Independent

 by Amanda Patterson. Follow her on  Facebook,  Tumblr,  Pinterest,  Google+,  LinkedIn,  and on Twitter:  @amandaonwriting

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Literary Birthday - 22 October -Elizabeth Hay

Happy Birthday, Elizabeth Hay, born 22 October 1951

Seven Quotes

  1. A child lies like a grey pebble on the shore until a certain teacher picks him up and dips him in water, and suddenly you see all the colours and patterns in the dull stone, and it’s marvellous for the stone and marvellous for the teacher.
  2. But the writing life is a good life. It has countless humiliations, but the pleasure continues of making something, working on it, working out the snags, reaching somewhere deep and surprising that makes you feel more alive.
  3. And when is it ever convincing, the belief others have in your abilities? You know perfectly well they can't see the mess inside you.
  4. Everything in my steno pads – thoughts, observations, worries, things overheard – forms the basis for later stories or novels. They are my raw material. I type the raw material into the computer, print it out, then work on the hard copy. 
  5. We look so very different from the way we sound. It’s a shock, similar to hearing your own voice for the first time, when you’re forced to wonder how the rest of you comes across if you sound nothing like the way you think you sound. You feel dislodged from the old shoe of yourself.
  6. I love being alone in a room. I love being at my desk. I love taking life and weaving it into a story. I love living with fictional characters. If I have nothing to work on, or am terribly stuck, then I feel lonely and empty.
  7. Movement always helps. A world of thoughts occurred to her whenever she rode a train, and a lesser world whenever she went for a walk.

Hay is a Canadian novelist and short story writer. Her novels include A Student of Weather, Late Nights on Air, and Alone in the Classroom.

Source for Image

 by Amanda Patterson. Follow her on  Facebook,  Tumblr,  Pinterest,  Google+,  LinkedIn,  and on Twitter:  @amandaonwriting

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.

Literary Birthday - 9 October - K. A. Applegate

Happy Birthday, K. A. Applegate, born 9 October 1956

10 Quotes
  1. I think all writers write from the time they're really young, and you just start asking the question, 'What if?'
  2. Memories are precious ... they help tell us who we are.
  3. I like colourful tales with black beginnings and stormy middles and cloudless blue-sky endings. But any story will do.
  4. Humans. Sometimes they make chimps look smart.
  5. I really love writing, but I am very easily distracted: my two cats fighting, a rainbow, a TV show... I have to use every trick to keep myself at the computer.
  6. Humans waste words. They toss them like banana peels and leave them to rot. Everyone knows the peels are the best part.
  7. Humans. Violent but peace-loving. Passionate but cerebral. Humane but cruel. Impulsive but calculating. Generous but selfish. Humans. Altogether a contradictory and deeply flawed species.
  8. One of the reasons I love writing for middle graders, besides their voracious appetite for books, is their deep concern for fairness and morality.
  9. I think having imaginary friends is an amazing coping mechanism. It's pretty wonderful, and it makes a lot of sense to me.
  10. Most writers will say that at the start of each book they think, 'I'm not sure I can do this.' But eventually, you reach a magical point where the story suddenly becomes real to you, and you become totally invested in it.

Katherine Alice Applegate is an American young adult and children's fiction writer, best known as the author of the Animorphs, Remnants, and  Everworld series. She won the 2013 Newbery Medal for her children's novel The One and Only Ivan.

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 by Amanda Patterson. Follow her on  Facebook,  Tumblr,  Pinterest,  Google+,  LinkedIn,  and on Twitter:  @amandaonwriting

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.

Literary Birthday - 6 October - Joseph Finder


Happy Birthday, Joseph Finder, born 6 October 1958

Five Quotes
  1. As the saying goes not every conspiracy is a theory.
  2. As you speed along the highway of life ... you might pause and consider. When everything's coming your way, maybe you're driving in the wrong lane.
  3. I would argue that coffee has been far more important to literature than alcohol.
  4. Power corrupts. PowerPoint corrupts absolutely.
  5. When you have the power to screw people over and you don't--well, that's when you get to show who you really are.

Eight Tips For Writers from Just Write the Damned Book Already
  1. Just write it. Fix it later. That means: don’t worry about word choice or grammar. Don’t worry about getting your facts right.
  2. You do have time — if you really want to do it. You have a full-time job? A family? Carve out an hour or two early in the morning before the rest of the house gets up, or before you go to work. Or at night, if you’re not too wiped out to write. Try to make this a regular time slot — do it at the same time each day, for the same amount of time. Make it a habit. I know a number of writers who finally started making enough money from their writing to be able to quit their day jobs, only to discover that, as soon as they started writing full time, they suddenly became far less efficient. All that time stretching before them in the day — the two hours of writing per day they used to squeeze in here and there now took them eight hours. There’s something to be said for not having a lot of free time to write. It tends to make you more efficient.
  3. Writing is a job. Treat it like one. I don’t work at home; I have an office, and I go there to write. If you don’t have an office, you should set aside a place that is just for you and your writing – the attic, the basement, a corner of the laundry room with a screen around it. If you treat your writing like work, your family and friends should do the same, and be more respectful of that writing time. No one thinks twice about interrupting a hobby, so make it clear that it’s not a hobby; it’s work. It’s your time.
  4. Be ruthless in managing your time. This is the biggest problem most writers have. I have a big old hourglass on my desk for use on those days when I’m tempted to check my Facebook page. I upend it and don’t let myself get up until the sands of time have run out.
  5. No e-mail! E-mail is truly our modern curse. It interrupts our attention span, fragments our concentration. Sign off. Do not let yourself check your e-mail or go online. Use an hourglass or a kitchen timer (if the ticking doesn’t drive you crazy) for 30 minutes or an hour, during which you may not do anything but write. In order to write you really need to get into the zone, and to get into the zone you need to be distraction-free. I love e-mail — but it’s the enemy!
  6. Set interim goals. A full-length novel can be anywhere from 75,000 to 150,000 words, or even longer. If you think about having to write 75,000 words – 200 pages – you’ll freak yourself out. But if you write 1,000 words a day, you can finish the first draft of a novel in less than three months, even if you take some weekend days off.
  7. Work toward a deadline. Everyone needs deadlines. Parkinson’s Law says that work expands to fill the time allotted; among my author friends, I know only one who regularly turns in manuscripts before they’re due (she was probably like that in school, too). The rest of us need deadlines. My publisher sets mine, but even before you’re published, you will find that your own life gives you natural deadlines: finish that draft before you leave for your next vacation, before you turn 40, before your next high school reunion.
  8. Reward yourself. In The Fine Art of Feedback, I write about the challenges of getting and processing feedback – but while you’re writing, it’s not unusual for your brain to second-guess everything you’re doing. Override this by promising yourself rewards for getting work done. “When I hit 5,000 words, I’m going to the movies,” or even, “When I finish this paragraph, I can have another cup of coffee.” It worked in kindergarten and it works for me now.

Finder is an American thriller writer. His books include Paranoia, Company Man, Killer Instinct and Power Play. High Crimes and Paranoia were adapted for film.

Source for Image

 by Amanda Patterson. Follow her on  Facebook,  Tumblr,  Pinterest,  Google+,  LinkedIn,  and on Twitter:  @amandaonwriting

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.

Literary Birthday - 14 September - Henrietta Rose-Innes

Happy Birthday, Henrietta Rose-Innes, born 14 September 1971

11 Quotes
  1. If we choose not to write African stories we are impoverishing our literature. 
  2. I think the [creative writing] courses work well for motivated people who probably have the ability to write their novel anyway, but who benefit from structure, deadlines and interaction to get it done in a more focused way.
  3. I am interested in the interactions – physical and psychological – between human beings and the landscapes they inhabit.
  4. I like the idea of making a particular locale a long-term literary project. It’s a fun time for writers to be doing this in Africa generally, because there are many places (especially urban spaces) that are undocumented, or that have not been fully written into the literary history, or have changed so much in recent times that that transcribing needs to be done again.
  5. I still don't think I have a vocation - and writing is a way of avoiding one. To do it you need a lot of different interests, without really committing to any of them. Which suits me.
  6. Contemporary South Africa remains a rich and challenging subject for writers. I think it’s important for us – for the vitality of the culture – to have writers who engage with what’s going on in their local environment. And the way one chooses to do that is political, of course.
  7. [My writing journey is] About 17 steps from bed to coffee machine, then 22 steps from the coffee machine to the computer.
  8. Bookish people drolly claim to be addicted. I think, in some cases, this is literally true. . . . I suppose this makes me a small-time pusher, holding a couple of capsules of a novel compound, looking for vulnerable readers for whom it might turn out to be habit-forming.
  9. I read fiction to transform my perception and I write to make sense of my experience. 
  10. Each book needs a long time to come into focus – it's always hard for me to say exactly how long each one takes to write, because each has its genesis in a period of vague exploratory messing about, in which I may wander in many directions. I feel my writing benefits and grows richer with the leisurely pace – it allows time for layers of meaning to accrue. I'm not the kind of writer who has all of those complexities worked out from the start. Of course, towards the end of the process, everything speeds up. By the time I have to hand in last corrections, I'm a hyper, sleep-deprived wreck. I do also like to revise and revise and revise, so it's important for me to have time for that built in at the end stages.
  11. I don’t think I even have handwriting any more. I’m entirely helpless without a computer. 

Rose-Innes  is a South African writer. She has written Nineveh, Green Lion, Shark's Egg, The Rock Alphabet, as well as Homing, a short-story collection.

Quotations: source, source source source source
Image: source

 by Amanda Patterson. Follow her on  Facebook,  Tumblr,  Pinterest,  Google+,  LinkedIn,  and on Twitter:  @amandaonwriting

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.

Literary Birthday - 5 September - Sam Hamill

Happy Birthday, Sam Hamill, born 5 September 1943 

Seven Quotes
  1. Nothing will change until we demolish the 'we-they' mentality. We are human, and therefore all human concerns are ours. And those concerns are personal.
  2. I write in my notebook with the intention of stimulating good conversation, hoping that it will also be of use to some fellow traveller. But perhaps my notes are mere drunken chatter, the incoherent babbling of a dreamer. If so, read them as such.
  3. Poetry transcends the nation-state. Poetry transcends government. It brings the traditional concept of power to its knees. 
  4. Poets should speak out against what we see as the assault against our Constitution and the warmongering that's going on. I'm perfectly willing to lay down my life for my Constitution, but I am not willing to take a life for it or any other reason because I think killing people is counterproductive.
  5. If only we could touch the things of this world at their centre, if we could only hear tiny leaves of birch struggling toward April, then we would know.
  6. Most of the ugly wars in history have been wars of religion. And there's nothing more dangerous than someone with religious certitude who creates consequences in the world that to me are simply inexcusable.
  7. The oldest cliché in the world is about "what's lost in translation," but you don't very often read much intelligent about what's gained by translation, and the answer is everything. Our language is a compendium of translation.

Hamill is an American poet and the co-founder of Copper Canyon Press. Hamill won the Stanley Lindberg Lifetime Achievement Award for Editing and the Washington Poets Association Lifetime Achievement Award.

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by Amanda Patterson. Follow her on Pinterest,  Facebook,  Tumblr,  Google+,  LinkedIn, and  Twitter.

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Literary Birthday - 27 August - Thando Mgqolozana

Happy Birthday, Thando Mgqolozana, born 27 August 1983

Eight Quotes
  1. I feel that I’m there to perform for an audience that does not treat me as a literary talent, but as an anthropological subject – as though those people are here to confirm their suspicions that somehow I am inferior to them.
  2. A book you read when you were a child will read differently when you pick it up later.
  3. [What is your writing routine?] Three things: it has to be done in solitude or not done at all. Second, I don’t need an idea before I seat myself in front of a computer—though having one helps. Notions just reveal themselves as I write, plus I already have life to turn to. And third, for me filling up the page with words the first time is typing, the writing follows in the process of reading the first draft.
  4. When the book is new and everybody’s reading it, I often re-read to find out what the excitement is all about. I don’t want to miss out, you see. But this euphoria doesn’t last. After a few months I will have discovered so much that could have been done differently, better, the sight of it becomes a reminder that the novel is the poorer version of what I had in mind.
  5. The physical book is here to stay.
  6. We come from a history where black writers were banned and the stories that would most resonate with a black audience were suppressed. There have never been as many black writers as we have now, there has never been as much diversity in terms of voices and stories.
  7. I’ve said a few times already that the only time I will feel at home in the SA literary space is when my publisher, editor, proofreader, graphic designer, layout person, printer, publicist, distributor, bookseller and most readers are black – reading my work in their preferred languages. But I’m not going to wake up tomorrow to a decolonised country, am I? So I have two choices: to write – because I can’t not write – and never publish, or to write and publish but stand my ground where I can.
  8. I remain proud of all my previous work, but my favourite is always the one I’m writing, which I won’t talk about just yet.

Mgqolozana is a South African author. His books include Hear Me Alone, A Man Who Is Not a Man, and Unimportance.

 by Amanda Patterson. Follow her on  Facebook,  Tumblr,  Pinterest,  Google+,  LinkedIn,  and on Twitter:  @amandaonwriting

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.

Literary Birthday - 26 August - Paula Hawkins

Happy Birthday, Paula Hawkins, born 26 August 1972

Nine Quotes
  1. I find writing the darker side, writing tragedy, a lot easier than writing happiness. Happiness is just less psychologically compelling, isn't it? 
  2. I'm not naturally an extrovert. I'm a writer - I sit in a room by myself making things up. That is where I'm happiest. 
  3. Certainly, there is a tendency to lump women who write similar types of books together, and it's not just in crime, is it? Women's fiction is supposedly a whole genre of itself. There's no male equivalent. 
  4. There’s nothing so painful, so corrosive, as suspicion.
  5. My idea of fun is to sit looking at a blank wall in a cottage, making up stories in utter silence. The thought of going back to work in an office is horrendous. 
  6. I am interested in the ordinary sort of threat. I know that people are interested in things like serial killers and what have you, but actually, those aren't the sort of crimes that really happen very much. The sort of crimes that happen tend to be more of a domestic nature and quite banal, but the psychology behind them is always fascinating. 
  7. I have never understood how people can blithely disregard the damage they do by following their hearts.
  8. I grew up in Zimbabwe in South Africa, and I moved to London when I was 17. And I started commuting to go to college. And I used to really enjoy that part of my journey where the - it was actually a Tube train, but it was over ground, and it went right past the backs of people's houses, and I could actually see right in. 
  9. The holes in your life are permanent. You have to grow around them, like tree roots around concrete; you mould yourself through the gaps.

Hawkins is a British author. She was born in Zimbabwe and grew up in South Africa. She is best known for her 2015 novel The Girl on the Train

 by Amanda Patterson. Follow her on  Facebook,  Tumblr,  Pinterest,  Google+,  LinkedIn,  and on Twitter:  @amandaonwriting

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.