Lois Lowry has penned over 30 thought-provoking novels for children and young adults. She’s won numerous awards, including the prestigious Newbery medal for her books Number the Stars (1990)–a book about Nazi-occupied Denmark–and The Giver (1994)–a fascinating look at a world based on “sameness.” Though Lowry is targeting the younger set, these are books adults can appreciate as well; I recently lost a few days lingering over the pages of The Giver and its companion books, Gathering Blue and Messenger. Shorter than your usual read, they’ll be quickly consumed yet satisfying for all that rich flavor–like a good Spanish tapas.
We’re honored Ms. Lowry took time out to speak with us about her stories and her process. Enjoy!
Part 1: Interview with Lois Lowry
Q: I’ve read that you attended a school without libraries and creative writing classes, without even a good supply of books. What drew you to reading and writing without this scholastic support, and what are some of your earliest memories showing your love of literature?
LL: Well, my school…a small town Pennsylvania public school in the 1940’s… had books, of course: textbooks: the standard Dick-and-Jane type of thing. But there were no trade books, no school library, no reading-for-pleasure in those days, in that kind of school. I was fortunate that I had been born into a family that loved and valued books, that I had a mother who read to me, and that we lived within walking distance of the town library, which I visited early and often.
I remember my mother reading the childhood classics like Winnie the Pooh and Alice in Wonderland to me, and I remember my grandfather—a distinguished, erudite man, a bank president—reading Dickens and Longfellow aloud. Evenings in those pre-TV days, when as a family (we lived with my grandparents during WW II because my father was overseas) dined together, conversed over dinner (no talking-down to children, either) and then went into the living room to read in front of the fireplace…those are almost sacred memories to me.
Q: The cover picture for The Giver is of an older man—a picture you took yourself. How does imagery influence your writing, and how is imagery like writing for you? [Read more…]