Author makes visit to campus

One Missouri Southern class had a visitor on April 13.

Author Gary Blackwood came to speak to the Children’s Literature classes of Dr. Doris Walters, professor of English and philosophy.

The two classes had just recently read Shakespeare’s Stealer, the first book of his trilogy of books set in Shakespeare’s time.

The hour started with Blackwood signing all of the student’s copies of the book. Then he read a passage from an unpublished edition to illustrate how much it had changed from its original copy.

Blackwood has written more than 40 books, 30 of which have been or are in the process of being published.

He has had his books printed in at least nine languages, everything from Chinese and Japanese, to Irish and Dutch.

The first book he had published was Wild Timothy, but he had written nine books before that one, a few of which he has published since then.

Not only has Blackwood written several books, he has won awards for his books also.

He won the ALA Best Book for Young Adults in 1999, ALA Notable Children’s Book in 1999, School Library Journal Best Book in 1998 and A VOYA Books in the Middle: Outstanding Title of 1998, all for The Shakespeare Stealer.

He also won the Ozark Creative Writers Conference first prize for Attack of the Mushroom People, the Missouri Scriptworks first prize for Dark Horse and the Best Young Authors Novel and the Friends of American Writers award for Dying Sun.

Blackwood talked about how hard it is to get a book published and about how many different publishing companies he had to go through to get a book published. He also talked about how long it takes to get a book published after it is approved.

He said the book went through several rewrites before it went into copy.

After he explained the amount of time and effort that went into getting a book published, he read some letters from children who had read his books and enjoyed them. He had letters from all over the United States, and even one from Japan.

Many of the letters talked about how well the children identified with the characters, several of them referred to the main character Midge from Shakespeare’s Stealer as someone they were friends with or could be friends with.

The letters got a lot of laughs, as did most of Blackwood’s stories. The class ended with him signing the copy of Shakespeare’s Scribe that was given away in a drawing at the beginning of the class.