Author Visit with Kwame Alexander
Wed., Aug. 22, 5 p.m.
Southwest Chatham Library, 14097 Abercorn St.
LEARN HOW a love of reading and writing can set your students—and yourself—up for success.
Kwame Alexander is a renowned author and educator, and he’ll discuss his writing workshop this Wednesday at the Southwest Chatham Library.
Alexander has won several awards for his poetry and is the author of an impressive 28 books.
Alexander will discuss how to engage and motivate students and sign copies of “The Write Thing.”
We spoke with Alexander last week.
This isn’t your first trip to Savannah, correct?
The library invited me to be part of the Savannah Children’s Book Festival, and that was last November. That was my first time in Savannah. My parents took me through as a kid but I got the chance to spend some time in the city and meet a lot of authors. A lot of my readers interacted with quite a few great authors. I really connected with the place. I came back in April for a book tour, and I made a connection with the city, and that’s sort of inspired me. When I get inspired I like to maintain that connection.
Tell me about “The Write Thing.”
For about nine years, from 2006 to 2015, I visited schools around the United States, Canada and the Caribbean conducting writing workshops not only on how to write, but helping students become engaged in writing, trying to make sure students wanted to write. I created this writing workshop that included writing and publishing so students came away from the writing workshop as published authors. I did that program in 76 schools over nine years, and [“The Write Thing”] is a culmination of that information.
What were your workshops like?
Our program was one day—we called it “Book in a Day.” We worked with 30 students and taught them the whole process. It was a day because I didn’t have a whole lot of time to spend with students. The teachers couldn’t have me in the classroom but for so long.
We developed it into a six-hour intensive workshop. It went over really well. What I tried to do in the book is to do the same methodology—same ideas, same tools, same writing activities—but teachers don’t have to do it in a day.
Why are workshops like yours so crucial?
Generally, if you know how to write, you’re going to have more of an opportunity to excel in your career and your workplace. Basic things, like getting a job. But I think, even more importantly, writing allows you to have a voice and share your voice and things that matter to you and things that are of concern to you. You get those out on paper and share them, even if it’s just for yourself. I think we get more clarity and understanding your place from that.
Another thing about writing is that it’s really a thinking process. You have to be able to understand what you want to say, or imagine what you would like to convey. This process of really using your mind and your imagination before you put pen to paper can help you in life. Being a critical thinker can help you imagine what’s possible for yourself.