When I talk to young writers and when I have conversations with MFA students in the Vermont College of Fine Arts program, I like to imagine I can take a bit of the mystery out of words like “inspiration” and “imagination” by pointing to ways that details and scenes in my books have grown out
Early in 2016, my sister Caroline Kurtz and I took a group of artists to Maji, Ethiopia, the place where she and I spent long, magical days making up and acting out stories–and where I learned to read. When we returned to Addis Ababa, we tried our hand at a bookmaking workshop–the first time I
Some time ago, my brother Christopher Kurtz and I wrote a picture book together about a boy in Ethiopia who had become Chris’s friend during the years when Chris was teaching in the Bethel Girls’ School. Only a Pigeon was praised for giving kids a rare look at life in an African city–no wonder, because Chris
I’ve written a few blog posts to share the new bookmaking project with Ethiopia Reads supporters. The second one just went up today: http://www.ethiopiareads.org/blog-date/2016/3/7/stories Meanwhile, as I describe where the inspiration came from for these new stories, I am blown away by the powerful example of how Stephanie Schlatter as a painter gets similar flashes
I write…Stephanie paints…deep gratitude for seeing my magic world through her eyes.
A team, I mean. Too many things go wrong on the road. People get sick or turn out to have needs or expectations that we were barely able to articulate ahead of time. Obstacles wave their tentacles until you can hardly think. Even unexpected opportunities–like waterfalls–knock the day’s plans askew–let alone the day in Maji
No matter how much I thought about the bookmaking ahead of time, I could never have guessed all the things I would learn on this adventure!
I know to my bones how important it is to be humble and playful as we dance up to the cultural divide and stare over. Respectful curiosity goes a long way. Calmness goes a long way. Hubris is a good thing to leave behind. The community of third culture kids is deep and wide with
http://www.ethiopiareads.org/ethiopian-odyssey-ii I’m super jazzed to talk with my Vermont College of the Fine Arts students about how to think about the progression of a tale. I’m also super jazzed to see what this artistic collaboration can bring to some very simple, easy-to-read stories that can be used by Ethiopian educators, especially after they’re translated into