Author Kate DiCamillo talks writing, life with area students
Library of Congress National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Kate DiCamillo spoke at St. Anne’s-Belfield School last week to more than 2,000 third and fourth grade students from public and independent schools across the area. The visit followed her public appearance at the Virginia Festival of the Book on Thursday evening.
Speaking on “How to Make a Writer,” DiCamillo addressed two sessions of more than 1,000 students each. She described her own childhood and her dreams of becoming a writer before making the decision to write two pages per day at age 30, and receiving 473 rejection letters prior to the publication of her first book.
“What if I’d stopped at 200? What if I’d stopped at 400? What if I’d given up?” she asked the audience, telling them she asks herself the same questions every time she considers the 473 total.
With book covers projected onto the wall behind her, DiCamillo recounted the publication of each of her books, all greeted with great enthusiasm by the audience.
“It’s so exciting to hear people cheer for books!” she remarked, a sentiment that drew even more applause.
DiCamillo is the author of 2014 Newbery Medal winner Flora and Ulysses, as well as five other novels, two picture books, and multiple early reader chapter books. Two of her most popular works are Because of Winn-Dixie (a 2001 Newbery Honor book) and The Tale of Despereaux (2003 Newbery Medal book).
“We were thrilled to host this event and join together with other Kate DiCamillo fans throughout our area,” said Lisa Cetroni, assistant head for academics for grades K-4 at St. Anne’s-Belfield School.
“There is something for each of us, young and old, in every Kate DiCamillo story. Her presence helped provide a rich new dimension for our students both as readers and writers. I am certain that Ms. DiCamillo’s visit ignited the passion of a host of devoted young readers and quite a few future accomplished authors.”
DiCamillo’s visit was one of six taking place in regions around the United States during her year as Library of Congress National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature.