Literary Birthday - 21 August - Sharon Draper

Happy Birthday, Sharon Draper, born 21 August 1948

Nine Quotes
  1. Without the local library in my neighbourhood, I don’t think I would have grown up to be a writer or a teacher.
  2. I’m a creator, a visionary, a poet. I approach the world with the eyes of an artist, the ears of a musician, and the soul of a writer. I see rainbows where others see only rain, and possibilities when others see only problems. 
  3. Thoughts need words. Words need a voice.
  4. A good book ought to bring out lots of different responses from those that read it - none of them pre-planned, and all of them very personal. Whatever they take away from the reading of the book is valuable. 
  5. Teachers must be celebrated for moving civilisation from ignorance to enlightenment, from apathy to responsibility.
  6. I love to write; words flow easily from my fingertips, and my heart beats rapidly with excitement as an idea becomes a reality on the paper in front of me. I smile often, laugh easily, and I weep at pain and cruelty. I'm a learner and a seeker of knowledge, and I try to take my readers along on my journey. I am passionate about what I do. 
  7. I learned to dream through reading, learned to create dreams through writing, and learned to develop dreamers through teaching. I shall always be a dreamer. Come dream with me.
  8. Words have always swirled around me like snowflakes-each one delicate and different, each one melting untouched in my hands.
  9. It’s like I’ve always had a painted musical sound track playing background to my life. I can almost hear colours and smell images when music is played.

Draper is an American children's writer. She has won the Coretta Scott King Award for books about the African-American experience six times. Her books include Copper Sun, Double Dutch, and Out of My Mind.

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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 - 6 August - Paolo Bacigalupi

Happy Birthday, Paolo Bacigalupi, born 6 August 1972

12 Quotes
  1. Politics is ugly. Never doubt what small men will do for great power.
  2. I'm interested in how we react when we're heavily pressed. When we're vulnerable and our survival is in question, how do we behave? 
  3. As a writer, you should care about reluctant readers. You want these kids to feel like books are amazing and cool and that they're an escape. 
  4. The more I write stories for young people, and the more young readers I meet, the more I'm struck by how much kids long to see themselves in stories. To see their identities and perspectives—their avatars—on the page. Not as issues to be addressed or as icons for social commentary, but simply as people who get to do cool things in amazing worlds.
  5. I do not fight battles that cannot be won. Do not confuse that with cowardice.
  6. The problem with surviving was that you ended up with the ghosts of everyone you’d ever left behind riding on your shoulders.
  7. I like fast plots with things that explode.
  8. Short fiction seems more targeted - hand grenades of ideas, if you will. When they work, they hit, they explode, and you never forget them. Long fiction feels more like atmosphere: it's a lot smokier and less defined.
  9. Knowledge is always two-edged. For every benefit, there is hazard. For every good, evil.
  10. The surfeit of bad trends pushes me to set my stories in worlds which are often diminished versions of our own present.
  11. I write at a standing desk, which has helped me be much more productive and solved some back problems, but mostly all my quirky habits have to do with procrastination and avoidance rather than with work. I'm slowly trying to stamp those out.
  12. Novelists want to be published and need a publisher to decide to print 20 000 copies. So you need to entertain on some level.

Bacigalupi is an American science fiction and fantasy writer.

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Literary Birthday - 13 July - Jane Hamilton

Happy Birthday, Jane Hamilton, born 13 July 1957

10 Quotes
  1. It is books that are a key to the wide world; if you can't do anything else, read all that you can.
  2. I've found it takes at least two and generally three things to alter the course of a life: You slip around the truth once, and then again, and one more time, and there you are, feeling, for a moment, that it was sudden, your arrival at the bottom of the heap.
  3. All I hope, selfishly, is that there will be real books until the day I draw my last breath. 
  4. We're only passers-by, and all you can do is love what you have in your life. A person has to fight the meanness that sometimes comes with you when you're born, sometimes grows if you aren't in lucky surroundings. It's our challenge to fend it off, leave it behind us choking and gasping for breath in the mud. 
  5. People want to be artists but don't want to do the ground work. 
  6. There were so many miracles at work: that a blossom might become a peach, that a bee could make honey in its thorax, that rain might someday fall.
  7. As a species, we would not have survived without humour. 
  8. In the larger world, tribalism is an enormous problem, as it ever has been: both strength and idiocy borne from belonging. 
  9. Ordinary life was laced with miracles, I knew that, had read enough poetry to understand that we are elevated with the knowing, and yet it was difficult to notice and be grateful when one was continually fatigued and irritated. I suppose that unquenchable sense of wonder is what separates us dolts from the saints and the poets.
  10. She read books quickly and compulsively, paperback after paperback, as if she might drift away without the anchor of the printed page.

Hamilton is an American novelist. She is best known for The Book of Ruth and A Map of the World.

Photograph: Larry D. Moore

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

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

Literary Birthday - 30 June - Assia Djebar

Assia Djebar was born 30 June 1936 and died 6 February 2015

Five Quotes
  1. The word is a torch; to be held up in front of the wall of separation or withdrawal … Armed solely with the written word, our serious attention can never be distracted … And now I too seek out the rich vocabulary of love of my mother tongue … 
  2. Love, if I managed to write it down, would approach a critical point: there where lies the risk of exhuming buried cities … But my sole ambition in writing is constantly to travel to fresh pastures and replenish my water skins with an inexhaustible silence. 
  3. My father was a nobleman when he spoke his mother tongue, and a worker from the lowest class when he went over into French.
  4. Sometimes fear grips me that these fragile moments of life will fade away. It seems that I write against erasure.
  5. Writing in a foreign language - has brought me to the cries of the women silently rebelling in my youth, to my own true origins.

Assia Djebar was the pen name of Fatima-Zohra Imalayen, an Algerian novelist, translator and filmmaker.

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

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

Literary Birthday - 18 June - Gail Godwin

Happy Birthday, Gail Godwin, born 18 June 1937

12 Quotes
  1. Dreams say what they mean, but they don't say it in daytime language.
  2. The characters that I create are parts of myself and I send them on little missions to find out what I don’t know yet.
  3. Negative people present us with an accelerated personal growth opportunity.
  4. None of us suddenly becomes something overnight. The preparations have been in the making for lifetime. 
  5. There are two kinds of people. One kind, you can just tell by looking at them at what point they congealed into their final selves. It might be a very nice self, but you know you can expect no more surprises from it. Whereas, the other kind keep moving, changing... They are fluid. They keep moving forward and making new trysts with life, and the motion of it keeps them young. In my opinion, they are the only people who are still alive. 
  6. Good teaching is one-fourth preparation and three-fourths theatre.
  7. One is taught by experience to put a premium on those few people who can appreciate you for what you are.
  8. The more you respect and focus on the singular and the strange, the more you become aware of the universal and infinite.
  9. Other people don’t exist when you’re not with them.
  10. The future arches above us all like a giant question mark, looming or embracing by whims and turns.
  11. There are things we can't undo, but perhaps there is a kind of constructive remorse that could transform regrettable acts into something of service to life.
  12. During the act of writing I have told myself something that I didn't know I knew.
Godwin is an American novelist and short story writer. She has written 14 novels, two short story collections, and three non-fiction books. Her works include FloraFather Melancholy's Daughter, and Evensong.

Source for Author Photo

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

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

Literary Birthday - 16 June - Evie Wyld

Happy Birthday, Evie Wyld, born 16 June 1980

Five Quotes
  1. As a feminist you feel you have to be actively doing things 
to relieve women’s plight. Actually, feminism is just thinking 
we should have the same rights as men
  2. Just like everything else, writing takes practice, and I believe that the right creative writing degree can be hugely helpful. If you are a good writer and you do a creative writing degree, you are given the time to write and you are able to talk to other writers. You read widely, and through your classmates’ mistakes you pick up your own more efficiently. But it’s only helpful if you go in with a certain amount of openness. 
  3. There’ll always be students who consider their work perfect as it comes out – and perhaps there are a lucky few for whom that is true – but most of us need time and advice and criticism. 
  4. I always wanted to be a painter, but I wasn’t very good at painting. When I was at school I found I received the same satisfaction from writing a short story that I did doing awful self-portraits – only the results were much better. 
  5. I always start out with one character and then to get to know them I find it essential to find out about their childhood, their parents, and sometimes their parents' parents. I feel like a person is so much their past that I find it almost impossible to write about someone just in the now.

Wyld is an Anglo-Australian author. Her first novel, After the Fire, A Still Small Voice, won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize in 2009, and her second novel, All the Birds, Singing, won the Encore Award in 2013 and the Miles Franklin Award in 2014.

Source for photograph

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

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

Literary Birthday - 9 June - Gregory Maguire

Happy Birthday, Gregory Maguire, born 9 June 1954

12 Quotes
  1. Books fall open, you fall in. When you climb out again, you're a bit larger than you used to be.
  2. People who claim that they're evil are usually no worse than the rest of us... It's people who claim that they're good, or any way better than the rest of us, that you have to be wary of.
  3. Happy endings are still endings.
  4. In the lives of children, pumpkins turn into coaches, mice and rats turn into men. When we grow up, we realize it is far more common for men to turn into rats.
  5. Remember to breathe. It is after all, the secret of life.
  6. I'm not a writer because I want to make money. I'm a writer because I'm a very slow thinker, but I do care about thinking, and the only way I know how to think with any kind of finesse is by telling stories.
  7. The eye is always caught by light, but shadows have more to say.
  8. I never write a book unless I can't help it. Something has to bother me, like a mosquito, until I have to do something to relieve the itch.
  9. Where I'm from, we believe in all sorts of things that aren't true... we call it history.
  10. Approval is overrated...Approval and disapproval alike satisfy those who deliver it more than those who receive it. I don't care for approval, and I don't mind doing without.
  11. The world rarely shrieks its meaning at you. It whispers, in private languages and obscure modalities, in arcane and quixotic imagery, through symbol systems in which every element has multiple meanings determined by juxtaposition.
  12. It's the work that's important, not the individual who does it.

Maguire is an American novelist. He is the author of Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West and Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister

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

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Literary Birthday - 5 June - Gayle Forman

Happy Birthday, Gayle Forman, born 5 June 1970

Five Quotes
  1. Sometimes you make choices in life and sometimes choices make you.
  2. Letting go. Everyone talks about it like it's the easiest thing. Unfurl your fingers one by one until your hand is open. But my hand has been clenched into a fist for three years now; it's frozen shut.
  3. Losing me will hurt; it will be the kind of pain that won't feel real at first, and when it does, it will take her breath away.
  4. There’s a difference between losing something you knew you had and losing something you discovered you had. One is a disappointment. The other feels like losing a piece of yourself.
  5. I'm not sure this is a world I belong in anymore. I'm not sure that I want to wake up.
Six bits and pieces of advice from Gayle Forman's blog
  1. Own YOUR VOICE. Write in the voice that comes naturally to you, not the voice you wish came naturally to you. I know that many young writers want to be Raymond Carver-esque....The thing is, when you write with your real voice, the work will be your most authentic, and that work is the most readable. Trust me.
  2. Most people don’t publish books so young. And there’s a reason for it. Writing is one of those things, that unlike basketball or ballet, you only get better at with age! Part of that is because you need to practice it, and part of it is because the more life experience you amass, the more it filters into—and deepens—your work.
  3. Take all writers’ advice, from Stephen King on down, with a huge grain of salt. What works for one person, no matter how successful, might not work for you. 
  4. A lot of people worry about writers’ block. The way out of writers’ block, if you ask me, is to write. Maybe the book or story or poem or whatever you’re working on isn’t coming. Whatever. Leave it for a while. Work on something else. I think the juices need to flow for the juices to flow.
  5. Court inspiration. What that means is, if you know that staring at the river gives you ideas, go stare at the river. If you dream up wild stories, for heaven’s sake, keep a pen and paper or a recorder by your bed. Not every idea you get is inspired but some nuggets will be golden and other ideas will be clues on a scavenger hunt leading you to….well, you never know unless you follow up.
  6. Worry about writing, not getting published.

Forman is an American young-adult fiction author. She is best known for her novel If I Stay, which was a New York Times best-seller. It was made into a film of the same name.

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

Literary Birthday - 2 June - David Bezmozgis

Happy Birthday, David Bezmozgis, born 2 June 1973

Eight Quotes
  1. When you write a book, you want to have fidelity to the character. Characters and their emotions guide the structure of the novel. 
  2. Writing a novel, in an unplanned and unpredictable way, makes you engaged; it takes you into yourself, and it becomes something between you and the character for a moment, and then you move back into the structure of the book. I love those moments, because they are completely unbidden.
  3. There are different types of readers. People draw lines at which three things intersect: the character, the author, and the reader.
  4. I think every book is a reaction to everything you're written before, and most immediately to the book you wrote just before.
  5. Most people will reach a point where, whatever their ideology, they will relent, or conform, and that keeps them kind of in the general mass of people. And for those who find that they can't, all of sudden they leave the general mass, they find that they become exceptions, and exceptional, and often this makes them public.
  6. Sooner or later, the realisation arrives: the child discovers the immaturity of the parent, and the parent the maturity of his child.
  7. If you think there’s no choice, look harder. There is always a choice. A third way, if not a fourth. Whether we have the strength to make those choices is another matter. Of which I am no less guilty than anyone else.
  8. Language is a personality as well. People are different when they speak different languages.

Bezmozgis is a Canadian writer and filmmaker. He is the author of Natasha and Other Stories, The Free World, and The Betrayers. He was chosen by The New Yorker as one of the best 20 writers under 40 in 2010.

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

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Literary Birthday - 24 May - Bob Dylan

Happy Birthday, Bob Dylan, born 24 May 1941

15 Quotes
  1. I accept chaos, I'm not sure whether it accepts me.
  2. Sometimes it's not enough to know what things mean, sometimes you have to know what things don't mean.
  3. A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do.
  4. Take care of all your memories. For you cannot relive them.
  5. People seldom do what they believe in. They do what is convenient, then repent.
  6. Don't criticise what you can't understand.
  7. You're going to die. You're going to be dead. It could be 20 years, it could be tomorrow, anytime. So am I. I mean, we're just going to be gone. The world's going to go on without us. All right now. You do your job in the face of that, and how seriously you take yourself you decide for yourself.
  8. Behind every beautiful thing, there's some kind of pain.
  9. No one is free, even the birds are chained to the sky.
  10. I think of a hero as someone who understands the degree of responsibility that comes with his freedom.
  11. Inspiration is hard to come by. You have to take it where you find it.
  12. It's not easy to define poetry.
  13. I have dined with kings, I've been offered wings. And I've never been too impressed.
  14. Some people seem to fade away but then when they are truly gone, it's like they didn't fade away at all.
  15. There is nothing so stable as change.

Dylan is an American singer-songwriter, artist and writer. He is the recipient of the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature. He won “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”. He is the author of Chronicles, Vol. 1 and Tarantula.

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

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