3x3 Three Minutes, Three Questions James Dashner & Jennifer L. Holm True Lit authors

Posted: October 20, 2017 at 1 a.m.

Courtesy Photos Award-winning authors James Dashner (shown) and Jennifer L. Holm are the keynote speakers for the fifth True Lit festival.

The Fayetteville Public Library will host the fifth annual True Lit: Fayetteville's Literary Festival starting this Sunday and continuing through Oct. 29. Events scheduled during the Festival include author talks, writing workshops for children and adults, a Walton Arts Center performance by Grammy-winning hip hop artist Secret Agent 23 Skidoo and a yoga session that incorporates literary themes. Aspiring authors will even get the opportunity to pitch their ideas to and receive feedback from representatives from various publishing agencies. The festival closes at 2:30 p.m. on Oct. 29 with a performance by That's What She Said, a troupe of local storytellers.

Courtesy Photos Award-winning authors James Dashner and Jennifer L. Holm (shown) are the keynote speakers for the fifth True Lit festival.

Lolly Greenwood, FPL's director of youth and outreach services, says the event has grown a great deal in five years.

FAQ

True Lit

WHEN — The festival kicks off at 2 p.m. on Sunday and goes through 2:30 p.m. Oct. 29

WHERE — Fayetteville Public Library, 401 W. Mountain St., Fayetteville

COST — Most events during the festival are free

INFO — truelitfest.com for a full schedule

"Our original purpose was to bring award winning, recognizable authors to the community to promote their works," says Greenwood. "We started off with a really wonderful partnership with the Fayetteville Public Schools and the Fayetteville Public Education Foundation and [then] piggybacked with them on programs they were already doing, but on a smaller scale. With those partnerships, we were able to come together and create something bigger and more powerful for the students in the area." Events for students will be taking place both at the library and at individual schools throughout the week. Greenwood says the event has picked up more partners along the way, with the University of Arkansas' Creative Writing program getting involved, the Walton Arts Center scheduling special events to coincide with the festival and Altrusa offering an essay contest for sixth graders.

"It's all tied to literacy and reading and helping people understand how important that is," says Greenwood.

Young adult book authors James Dashner and Jennifer L. Holm are the keynote speakers for the event. The duo will sit for an interview with KUAF's Kyle Kellams at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the library and will be on hand to sign books afterwards. Dashner, the author of the ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults Award-winning series that starts with "The Maze Runner," and Holm, recipient of three Newbery Honor medals and author of the "Babymouse" series of graphic novels, took time out of their busy writing schedules recently to answer some of our questions about their writing process.

Q: You're both writers of fiction for children and/or young adults. As a writer, were you drawn to this field immediately, or did something draw you to it?

James Dashner: For me, it's all about the magic of reading. And there's just nothing quite like it when you're a kid or a teenager. Writing for that age helps me feel that magic again.

Jennifer L. Holm: I love writing for kids. Maybe it's because I remember that time of life as being so full of possibility and adventure.

Q: Some parents find it difficult to engage their children and young adults in a love of reading. Do you have any suggestions or advice for this, as a parent yourself and as an author of fiction for young adults and/or children?

JD: I've always said that the most important thing you can do is to help kids associate reading with fun, no matter how you have to do it. I hate the mentality of forcing kids to read "the classics." If they resist and you insist, you're just going to make them hate reading. Comic books, Captain Underpants, Wimpy Kid, cereal boxes, whatever it takes! Once they associate the act of reading with fun, then they'll constantly seek out new things and continue to challenge themselves.

JH: I have always kept books everywhere -- in the car, by their beds, in the bathroom (everyone's favorite reading salon!) I also let my kids read books at the dinner table. They're usually wiped out from school, and it's a good time to fall into a story.

Q: What are your favorite children/young adult books (that weren't written by you)?

JD: Just off the top of my head, what I loved as a kid: "James and the Giant Peach," "Charlotte's Web," The Hardy Boys, anything Judy Blume, "Lord of the Rings." Then high school was all Stephen King for me.

JH: "The Black Cauldron" by Lloyd Alexander.

-- Lara Jo Hightower

lhightower@nwadg.com

NAN What's Up on 10/20/2017