KATHERINE CATMULL is the author of Summer and Bird. A writer and actor, she lives in Austin, Texas. In the summer of 2011, her life turned upside-down in the best way, and now she writes full-time and sits around feeling lucky. She also sometimes write for the Austin Chronicle, acts on stage in various venues, and does voice work for online games.
If you are interested in hosting an appearance by Katherine Catmull at your school, library, or conference, please use the online request form, send an email to authorvisits[at]us.penguingroup.com with possible dates, your school name, location, details about the day, and your contact information.
Author Appearance Q&A with Katherine Catmull:
What can a school, library, or conference expect when you are making an appearance? What do you do differently with audiences of varying sizes, ages, and interests?
With all groups, I'll usually do some short readings and talk a bit—but with children especially, I like to get them involved and active. For example, we'll talk about how to make stories, and what makes a good one, and work together to make a few. I've also prepared reader's theater versions of a few scenes from Summer and Bird, so that children can take different parts. Q&A sessions with children are also a lot of fun.
I like to get adult audiences involved, too, when I can especially when I'm talking about writing. I'd say my style is pretty interactive.
What makes your author appearances unique?
I've spent over 25 years as a stage actor, performing in everything from Shakespeare to Beckett and Pinter to the newest American playwrights. I've performed in small, intimate spaces, and in large theaters before many hundreds of people. I also have twelve years' experience as a voice actor in anime and video games.
I think that experience makes me unusually comfortable speaking in front of an audience, and keeping my performance energetic and engaging. It also helps me do a good job of choosing lively selections from my work, and reading them in an engaging way.
Do you enjoy making appearances for adult audiences? What do you do when presenting to adults?
I very much enjoy adult audiences. With adults, I can dig deeper into some of my favorite topics, including narrative voice, concrete imagery, and the tricky question of what we call "originality" in writing. I also often learn a lot myself when I'm speaking with teachers, librarians, or other writers.
What can schools and libraries do to ensure a successful appearance?
All I absolutely need is a rough sense of how many students I'll be presenting to and their ages. But if they can also let me know what the students are working on in their class work, I like to tweak my presentation to help support that class work.
Do you enjoy traveling to other parts of the country for appearances?
I do. I've always loved to travel. I've also lived all over the country, from Florida to Oregon and quite a few places in between, so it's a treat for me to get back for a visit.
Do you ever make appearances at more than one school in an area? Could schools and libraries from one area join together to bring you to their institution?
Oh absolutely&mdashl;that makes it more cost effective for the schools and libraries, and uses my time really well, too. It's a win for everyone.
What do you hope your audience will come away with from your presentation?
I hope students leave feeling stimulated and excited about reading—and perhaps about writing and other forms of story-making, as well. I hope that adults leave with a greater sense of excitement and possibility about their own roles as writers and educators.
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