Acclaimed children’s author Katherine Paterson, author of Bridge to Terabithia, will host a pair of events for Washington University’s 2003-04 Center for the Humanities’ Writers Series Nov. 17-18.
At 8 p.m. Monday, Nov. 17, Paterson will read from her work in the School of Law’s Anheuser-Busch Hall, Room 204. At 4 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 18, she will lead a seminar and audience discussion on the craft of writing in McMillan Café, Room 115 of McMillan Hall.
Both events are free and open to the public and are sponsored by The Center for the Humanities in Arts & Sciences. Copies of Paterson’s works will be available for purchase, and a book-signing and reception will follow each program. Anheuser-Busch Hall is located on Olympian Way, just north of Forsyth Boulevard. McMillan Hall is located a short walk east of Anheuser Busch Hall. For more information call (314) 935-5576.
Paterson has written more than 20 books for young people, including Bridge to Terabithia (1977) and Jacob Have I Loved (1980), both winners of the Newbery Medal; and The Great Gilly Hopkins (1978), winner of the Newbery Honor Award.
Other novels include Come Sing, Jimmy Jo (1985), Flip-Flop Girl (1994), Preacher’s Boy (1999) and The Same Stuff as Stars (2002). Picture books include The King’s Equal (1992) and The Angel and the Donkey (1996), as well as the “I Can Read” books The Smallest Cow in the World (1988) and Marvin One Too Many (2001).
Paterson also is the author of several essay collections, such as Gates of Excellence (1981) and The Invisible Child (2001), which explore the craft of writing for children. Her numerous awards include the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Medal (1998) for her body of work.
Paterson is known for crafting perceptive stories of children doing the difficult work of growing up. Her breakthrough novel, Bridge to Terabithia, tells the story of Jess, the fastest boy in the fifth grade, and Leslie, a tomboy newcomer who threatens his title. Yet despite their competition — or perhaps because of it — the two grow close and create the magical, imaginary land of Terabithia, a secret kingdom in the woods. In one tragic moment, however, Terabithia shatters into grief and loss, yet also becomes, through sheer strength of will, an enduring testament to the power of friendship.
Friendship and transformation also lie at the heart of The Great Gilly Hopkins, which tells the story of Gilly, a jaded foster child who, when placed in a new home, is forced to confront her own racial prejudices. Jacob Have I Loved (the title refers to the biblical story of Jacob and Esau) examines themes of jealousy and isolation through the turbulent relationship between a pair of twin sisters, Louise and Caroline.
The School Library Journal praises Paterson’s most recent book, The Same Stuff as Stars, as a “beautifully written, wonderfully told story that exposes some of the most disturbing parts of our society while at the same time teaching the value of each and every person … A new novel by Paterson is cause for great celebration and this one more than measures up.” Publishers Weekly concurs, adding that “few authors explore the theme of what defines a family with more compassion and sensitivity than Paterson.”
Paterson was born in Huai’an, China, the daughter of missionary parents. She grew up in China and the United States and worked for several years in Japan. She lives in Barre, Vt. For more information about Paterson, visit her Web site, www.terabithia.com.