Tumblr and Hamline and Seattle

Hello from a hotel room. I have been traveling a lot! I love room service! When I get home in a few days I have to start my next YA book. I am frightened. 

Meanwhile, here is a little news!


Most of my events for We Were Liars (May 13) will be after it publishes, but Seattlites -- a sneak preview plus FUN and EMBARASSING hijinks with other writers.

Feb 27, 2014,  me, Robin Wasserman, Adele Griffin and Sarah Mlynowski will read from our new books and from early and embarassing first attempts at fiction. It's at the downtown Seattle Public Library, 6:30 pm. More details here! 

The four of us are also doing two panels on Saturday the 29th at the AWP Conference,  also in Seattle, so if you're headed to that, come see us. 


I just got back from spending 11 days teaching at Hamline University's MFA in Writing for Children, low-residency program. To put it simply, there are intensive residencies in July and January, and the rest of the time students write like crazy and send in work to their advisors for critique and guidance. The faculty is very thrilling to be around, for me.  

This time, I taught writing workshop with Laura Ruby (Bad Apple, Good Girls, etc) and our guests included: Anita Silvey (who lectured on the history of picture books and middle grade novels),
Jane Yolen (who gave our commencement speech),
Kate DiCamillo (who talked about her process on The Tiger Rising with Jane Resh Thomas),
Geoff Herbach (who talked about his theories of primal emotions and how they drive stories) and
Vaunda Micheaux Nelson (who talked about her development process on No Crystal Stair). 

Pretty awesome. Plus our usual faculty who are listed here on the MFAC website.  We spent a lot of time talking about picture books this season, and a lot of time talking about writing cultural difference -- sharing LGBTQ book lists, POC fantasy novel booklists, and more. 

Anyway, the Hamline MFAC now has a Tumblr, which is unofficial but supercalifragilistic. It is run by faculty member and NBA long-lister Anne Ursu, and if you have interest in children's and YA books generally, it's a good one to follow (it's not centered on Hamline stuff, but on stuff we talk about at Hamline, if that makes sense.) Here it is.


So not only do I recommend THAT Tumblr, but I want you to know I got ACTUAL TUMBLR lessons from Rachel Fershleiser, who works there and does all their cool book stuff -- and she explained it all to me!  Though I haven't figured out totally how to work it, I am getting much better and you should come and follow me because I will be there and on Twitter much more than on this blog. 

Also, of course, the We Were Liars Tumblr is dead sexy (made by the folks at Random House) and it has pins and maps and all that juicy stuff connected to the book. 

The Cover of We Were Liars, May 13, 2013

Hope you had a good Halloween.
I was a monarch butterfly.
Someone stole our pumpkin AND the bowl of candy we left out for neighborhood kids.
I saw a man with a beard dressed as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz.
I ate all the Butterfingers nobody else wanted.
Business as usual for All Hallows Eve in NYC. 

Today (Nov 1) was the cover reveal on the Entertainment Weekly website for my upcoming book, WE WERE LIARS.  
It was an exclusive, which means no one was allowed to see the cover until today -- or the juicy John Green quotation at the top of the shiny beautiful jacket.  
Here it is!  
You also get a hint of the plot, which is highly under wraps. 


I have a book coming out in May.



I have a book coming out in May. It is called WE WERE LIARS. There will be a fancy pants cover REVEAL on Entertainment Weekly's website on November 1, and advance reader copies (ARCs) will be mailed out after that --  but before then my publisher had me sign about 100 manuscripts which were sent to top secret recipients.

Okay, they're not top secret. I just don't know who they were. So if you were one of them, tweet me and let me know!  

If you want to know more about We Were Liars, I answered questions on Twitter the other night so there are some clues there. Search hashtag #wewereliars and you can read the conversation.  


The National Book Award Finalists for 2013

We did it! We picked five National Book Award finalists for 2013, and they announced today, Oct 16. 

It was HARD to decide because we members of the committee adored all top ten books. But I am proud to share with you our choices, and a winner will be decided at a big fancy ceremony in late November.

The concrete info below is cribbed from the NBA's wonderful site -- but  you should click over to it because they have published a FREE EBOOK of excerpts from all 20 finalists in the four categories. So for free, you can read bits of all the contenders before the big event November 20. 


Book covers for the 2013 NBA YPL Finalists


Kathi AppeltThe True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp 
(Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster)

Cynthia KadohataThe Thing About Luck (Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster)

Tom McNealFar Far Away (Alfred A. Knopf/Random House)

Meg RosoffPicture Me Gone (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, a division of Penguin Group USA)

Gene Luen YangBoxers & Saints (First Second/Macmillan)


- Kate DiCamilloFlora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures (Candlewick Press)
- Lisa Graff, A Tangle of Knots (Philomel, A division of Penguin Group USA)
- Alaya Dawn JohnsonThe Summer Prince (Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic) 
- David LevithanTwo Boys Kissing (Knopf Books for Young Readers/Random House) 
- Anne UrsuThe Real Boy (Walden Pond Press/an Imprint HarperCollinsPublishers)


Deb CalettiCecil CastellucciPeter GlassmanE. Lockhart, Lisa Von Drasek


Reading SO so much.

August is passing with reading, reading and reading -- but most of it is because I am judging the National Book Awards, young people's literature category.  SO I CAN'T TELL YOU ABOUT IT. 

For those of you who don't follow these things, the history of the NBA is pretty interesting, and the Wikipedia version is here (not authoritative, but probably basically the gist of it). The NBA online exhibition of the YPL award winners and finalists is below (I've linked to it before.)

Anyway, what happens is that publishers submit the books -- and they can be fiction, nonfiction, poetry, graphic novels, picture books, middle-grade, young adult -- anything! We are a committee of five -- three writers (one is me), one librarian and one bookseller. All in the field of children's literature. We read read read read read read, and discuss at length. Then we come up with a longlist of ten books that will be announced Sept 12. 

About a month later, the finalists from that list are announced. The five authors have a month to stew and worry -- and then we have a big PARTY at Cipriani. It is black tie! All the finalists do a big reading the night before the party, which is open to the public and which is pretty incredible.

Anyway. Party. Black tie. I am planning to wear a J. Crew party dress that is very pretty but maybe not as flattering as it might be. Unless I find something even better. And they have fancy writers and supporters of literature and people give speeches and they give the award. Also, lots of people liveTweet it, which is quite fun. And I get to give the award! Because I am the Chair of the YPL committee. 

Which means maybe I SHOULD get a new dress. 

But seriously. It is not about the dress. It is about the books. 

A few things I've read this summmer that I can tell you about:

GOBLIN SECRETS by William Alexander. This was our Mother-Daughter Book Club pick, and it won the NBA last year. Alexander talked at the Hamline MFA program when I taught there in July, and he was fascinating -- discussing  everything from Shakesperean theater to the Muppets, both influences on the novel.

Amulet of the Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud. I am in the middle of this on audio. So MUCH FUN. Why did it take me so long?

Bronxville by Coe Booth. This is a sequel to Tyrell, which I also loved, but I think it stands alone. It is in some ways a romance, in other ways a harsh and heartbreaking story of life in Bronx housing projects and a boy who is trying to find his way in a really tough situation. 

Happy reading!


Invisible Inkling, Hamline MFAC and more.

Hello from a couch where I am sitting with Sarah Mlynowski and Courtney Sheinmel, WRITING STUFF. Well, they are writing stuff. I am blogging. 

My new book for elementary-aged readers came out this past week. Invisible Inkling: The Whoopie Pie War is the third book in the Invisible Inkling series. The return of the killer unicorn head, 15 ways to make pumpkin ice cream, pygmy hedgehogs, romance, a league of supervillains, moderate violence. What more could you want? Oh! Pictures by Harry Bliss. It's got those, too.

I am recently returned from teaching at Hamline's MFAC -- an MFA program in writing for children. It's a low-residency program, which means there are intensives in July and January, and the rest of the time the students work directly with an advisor on their creative and critical work. There are only a couple programs like it in country, specializing in writing for kids, so if you're interested I recommend you check it out.

This was my second residency, and one of my favorite things about teaching there is that I get to attend my colleagues' lectures on the craft of writing. Oh, hearing Franny Billingsly explain how to develop a character, or Anne Ursu talk about "staging" a novel, or Gary Schmidt talk about point of view -- all in a day's work.

I did a lecture this time called Self Editing: Better Living Through Technology, which was about using Final Draft, Scrivener and the Track Changes function of Word. 

The other big thing that's going on with me right now is I am judging the National Book Awards, young people's literature category. There are five judges total, and the long list of top ten books is announced on September 12, 2013. So I am reading reading reading. Here is a link to Up All Night Reading, the National Book Foundation's online exhibition of the YPL category winners and finalists, organized by year. It is very fun reading and has loads of essays about the books and tidbits about their authors.

Hope you are doing some amazing summer reading, too! 

xo E

LeakyCon 2013 (a report)


I am writing from my hotel room at LeakyCon, an inclusive fan conference (based on Harry Potter but also including Buffy, Sherlock, Doctor Who, YA literature generally, Maureen Johnson, Vlog Brothers, Disney musicals, Rent and quite a lot more). There are wizard rockers,  Star Kids, and also a lit track, which is the thing I was part of. Lots of authors, doing lots of panels -- exceptionally amusing ones. Reader's theater, kissing books, author game shows. And lots of signings. 

Novelists Maureen Johnson and Robin Wasserman organize and MASTERMIND the lit track. They even have a bookshop on the selling floor alongaside various wizarding emporiums. It is called Johnson Wasserman books. So cool.
Anyway, a full summary of my LeakyCon adventures would probably be too much for anyone to bear. A LOT HAPPENED. But are some highlights.
Anthony Rapp (he of Rent! and Charlie Brown!) did an opening musical number that involved him being Doctor Who and then stripping down to his Rent costume and singing a version of La Vie Boheme from Rent re-done as a celebration of Leaky Con, in which he was backed up by characters of a million different fandoms, including Maureen playing Edward Cullen and Buffy's Amber Benson as Bella. Note how SPARKLY.  Here's the clip of Rapp in the opening number.

So, really, once you've seen that live, you might think it would all be downhill. BUT NO.
The next day I:
purchased a phoenix feather and some dragon heartstrings
purchased a bumper sticker that says I SOLEMNLY SWEAR I AM UP TO NO GOOD
was on Team Ravenclaw for the Author's House Cup which involved
  • seeing Lev Grossman and Rainbow Rowell conquer a ball pit
  • losing a metaphorical procrastination game to Coe Booth (I came in first, but with procrastination, the last person to finish wins, apparently. sigh.)
  • watching Matt delaPena, Andrea Cremer and Amber Benson stuff numerous balls down their respective clothing in a metaphorical act of retaining editorial suggestions to a manuscript
acted out Flowers in the Attic and Ender's Game (among others) with Benson, Rowell, Rapp and David Levithan (I completely lost it and began laughing hysterically)
signed copies of The Fault in Our Stars (the John Green love here knows no limits) 
signed one copy of John Klassen's I Want My Hat Back and several Harry Potters
and even signed loads of my own books.

I played a Lying Game on a team with Stephanie Perkins, Barry Lyga and Maggie Steifvater. We won by guessing correctly that Grossman was not nicknamed Sharkie at Harvard because of his dog-paddle style of swimming. 
I watched a fun panel on publishing lead by Heather Brewer.
I also heard Lyga explain how to cover up what kind of gun you used to commit murder
cover your eyes if you don't want to know
(pull the bullet out and then stab the bullet hole)
and listened to Steifvater play the bagpipes. YES. 
I met Hank Green
I heard juvenilia written by Lyga, Leigh Bardugo, Laini Taylor and Steifvater. I would tell you all about it but it is TOO DIRTY FOR THIS BLOG.
I went to a Disney singalong. 
I saw the cover of the relaunching Prisoner of Azkaban revealed.  
I was interviewed for editor Cheryl Klein's podcast for writers, The Narrative Breakdown (though when it will air, I don't know).

Also: I met so many ardent readers, great people, smart writers and actors, passionate organizers, snappy dressers, and so on. Oh! And the people from ShelterBox. That is a great charity supported by many of the fandom real-world do-gooder organizations like Nerdfighters and The Harry Potter Alliance. They have lots of my charity dollars and I recommend you check them out. Thank you to everyone I met for being so very, very excellent and for making my first Leaky experience so great.

Oh my god, there's more, but I can't imagine you want to hear any of it, because that has already been A LOT. So to end, here's a photo of me, Andrea Cremer and Stephanie Perkins, taken while we were shopping for Snape tattoos, Marauder's Map buttons, and the like.  xoxoxE

National Book Award judge, VIDA and lalalalala

Hey there. 

I haven't blogged because I have been writing a novel for you guys. Seriously. It won't be out for a year yet, but I am doing final revisions on my first YA book in quite a while. It is called (if you haven't read this blog in a while) WE WERE LIARS. 

More about that later. Internet-wise I am on Twitter a lot more than on this blog, and on Pinterest as well. So come join me there if you miss me.

News of today: I am chairing the National Book Awards committee on young people's literature, together with the awesome librarian Lisa von Drasek from the Kerlan Library, the excellent novelists Cecil Castelluci and Deb Caletti, and the legendary bookseller Peter Glassman from Books of Wonder. You can read our bios and learn the judges in the other categories here

I think this will be a grand adventure. I've talked to a number of people who have been judges, including Daniel Ehrenhaft and Scott Westerfeld, and they said it was just an incredible experience to read so much and be forced to formulate an articulate what you think makes great literature.  

I've also joined the children's lit advisory committe for Vida, which is an organization for women in the literary arts. They do a great awareness-raising work like comparing the number of male and female writers interviewed by big-shot journals like The Paris Review. (It's approximately 15% women.) So go check them out. 

In other news, I went to Disneyland last week. I rode Splash Mountain and got crazy wet. I love that thing. It reminded me of the movie it was based on, which I haven't seen since my childhood. It's Disney's  Song of the South. No one watches it nowadays because it has some racist stereotypes that just ruin it, but a lot of it is the old folk tales of tricksters Brer Rabbit, Brer Bear and Brer Fox -- and those are the guys you see in the ride, the animal characters up to no good. And that put me in mind of the wonderful Barry Moser-illustrated Jump! and Jump Over! by Van Dyke Parks. Here is a link to see those amazing pictures. You won't be sorry.

Tidbit: I wrote my college thesis on Barry Moser's illustrations for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. 

That's all for now. Happy spring!



YA for NJ: An Auction to Benefit Hurricane Sandy Recovery

Hi! Happy holidays!

The awesome novelist Kieran Scott: let's talk about her because she is up to some amazing fundraising for the Community Foodbank of NJ which will help out families hit hard by Hurricane Sandy this season. 

I first heard of Kieran when I signed up The Boyfriend List with our mutual publisher. They showed me her book Jingle Boy, which they published and which is obviously perfect if you are a Christmas-celebrating person in need of a fun holiday read or gift for a pal.

 Jingle Boy by Kieran ScottEx-Mas

Something else I like about Kieran is that, like me, she has another name and writes different books under that name! She is also Kate Brian, author of the best-selling Private series, and has another fun YA holiday read under that name called Ex-Mas. 

(Why can't I make those book jackets the same size??? I can't do it! Blergh.)

Anyway, really what I want to tell you about is the amazingness of the YA for NJ auction which Kieran organized. All the money goes to bring food to people in NJ who need it, especially those affected by Hurricane Sandy. And there are more than 200 YA authors contributing. There are loads and loads of signed books -- plus some amazingness like having authors come to your school, Skype visits, and the like. Perfect holiday gifts and all for a great cause. I am going to link some of the most thrilling bits below. It's an ebay auction, so you just bid on stuff like a regular ebay auction.

I WILL WRITE YOU A SILLY RHYME IN YOUR HONOR, plus a stack of four signed Ruby Oliver books. 

You could OWN MEGAN MCCAFFERTY'S NOTES on an ARC of Sloppy Firsts.

Random House editor Wendy Loggia will CRITIQUE a MANUSCRIPT.

Matthew Quick's not-yet-out book, FORGIVE ME, LEONARD PEACOCK - an autographed ARC. 


But there's so much more! Click here for the complete list of items being auctioned.

Below are a couple more links about the auction.