Authors & Events
Photo: © John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
Jacqueline Woodson (www.jacquelinewoodson.com) is the recipient of a 2020 MacArthur Fellowship, the 2020 Hans Christian Andersen Award, the 2018 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, and the 2018 Children’s Literature Legacy Award. She was the 2018–2019 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, and in 2015, she was named the Young People’s Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation. She received the 2014 National Book Award for her New York Times bestselling memoir Brown Girl Dreaming, which was also a recipient of the Coretta Scott King Award, a Newbery Honor, the NAACP Image Award, and a Sibert Honor. She wrote the adult books Red at the Bone, a New York Times bestseller, and Another Brooklyn, a 2016 National Book Award finalist. Born in Columbus, Ohio, Jacqueline grew up in Greenville, South Carolina, and Brooklyn, New York, and graduated from college with a B.A. in English. She is the author of dozens of award-winning books for young adults, middle graders, and children; among her many accolades, she is a four-time Newbery Honor winner, a four-time National Book Award finalist, and a three-time Coretta Scott King Award winner. Her books include Coretta Scott King Award winner Before the Ever After; New York Times bestsellers The Day You Begin and Harbor Me; The Other Side, Each Kindness, Caldecott Honor book Coming On Home Soon; Newbery Honor winners Feathers, Show Way, and After Tupac and D Foster; and Miracle’s Boys, which received the LA Times Book Prize and the Coretta Scott King Award. Jacqueline is also a recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement for her contributions to young adult literature and a two-time winner of the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award. She lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York.
Jacqueline Woodson (author of BROWN GIRL DREAMING) | What I’m Reading
An Interview with Jaqueline WoodsonPreview 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.
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?
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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