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Jacqueline Woodson

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Photo of Jacqueline Woodson

Photo: © Tiffany A. Bloomfield

About the Author

Jacqueline Woodson is the bestselling author of more than two dozen award-winning books, including the 2016 New York Times–bestselling National Book Award finalist for adult fiction, Another Brooklyn. Among her many accolades, Woodson is a four-time National Book Award finalist, a four-time Newbery Honor winner, a two-time NAACP Image Award Winner, and a two-time Coretta Scott King Award winner. Her New York Times–bestselling memoir, Brown Girl Dreaming, received the National Book Award in 2014. Woodson is also the 2018–2019 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and the recipient of the 2018 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award and the 2018 Children’s Literature Legacy Award. In 2015, she was named the Young People’s Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation. She lives with her family in New York.

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Jacqueline Woodson (author of BROWN GIRL DREAMING) | What I’m Reading

Author Essay

An Interview with Jaqueline Woodson
Preview Magazine, Spring 2002

What do you have to have by you to write?

Paper, a good pen, sometimes my dog. Having lots of quiet surrounding me is always nice.

Where do you write?

Wherever I can and on anything that’s handy.

What time of day do you get your best ideas?

My ideas come to me all times during the day and night. I write best in the mornings.

Describe your writing uniform.

Pajamas.

Whom do you share your writing with first?

My girlfriend, Juliet. My friends Toshi and Teresa and then my writing group.Do you read reviews of your own work?Sometimes, and only the good ones.

What are you reading right now?

Nothing. I’m taking a long-needed break from reading and writing. Feels strange—good strange.

What was your favorite book as a child?

Some of my favorite books were No Roses For Harry, Zeely, Chicken Soup With Rice, and Stevie by John Steptoe was an all-time favorite.What was the first book you remember reading, or being read to you, as a child?I remember my big sister reading Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates— I think that was the name of it. I didn’t really like it.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

From the time I was about ten, although I was writing poetry and stories when I was seven.

What were you doing when you found out that your first book was accepted for publication?

I was working two jobs and hoping that would change.

What did you treat yourself to when you received your first advance check?

Probably dinner.

Tell me about writing Hush.

It was hard. It was a very different story for me. It gave me headaches at times and sometimes it was really rewarding. I’m glad it’s done and that Evie/Toswiah and her family are okay. Once I’ve written the book, I try to put as much of the writing experience of that particular work behind me so that I can move on. As I said before, right now I’m moving on to a break—thank goodness —and then, maybe in the new year, I’ll get back to writing. I think writing Hush really exhausted me.

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