Happy Birthday, Jacqueline Woodson, born 12 February 1963
‘Even the silence
has a story to tell you.
Just listen. Listen.’
Brown Girl Dreaming
- Even when the words are slow in coming and the story seems all lopsided, writing keeps me happy.
- Anything you do that you want to do well can be difficult at times. Revising is hard. Thinking of new things to write about is hard. And the difficulty makes it that much more rewarding.
- I don’t believe there is any such thing as Writer’s Block. I think it’s just your mind telling you that the thing you’re writing isn’t the thing you really want to be writing. If this happens to me, I start writing something else.
- I have a writing room in my house in Brooklyn. Sometimes, I sit on the stoop or write at Prospect Park. Sometimes, if an idea starts coming, I just write wherever I am and on whatever I have.
- I can only write with my notebook turned sideways. When I was a kid, I wrote with it turned upside down.
- I write, catch, and eat with my right hand. Everything else – batting, shooting a basket, holding a golf club, etc. is done with my left.
- There is something so deeply visceral about libraries for me-rooms and rooms full of people dreaming and remembering.
- From a really young age, I was reading like a writer. I was reading for the deep understanding of the literature; not simply to hear the story but to understand how the author got the story on the page.
- Yes, writing is not easy. But can any writer imagine NOT writing?
- I think writers are the history keepers, right? We’re the ones who are bearing witness to what’s going on in the world. And I feel like it’s our job to put that down on paper, and put it out into the world, so that it can be remembered.
- When I’m writing flawed characters, I just think about my own flaws.
- I think it’s important to remember that writing is a gift and our stories are gifts to ourselves and to the world and sometimes giving isn’t always the easiest thing to do but it comes back.
Jacqueline Woodson is an American writer of books for children and young adults. She is best known for Miracle’s Boys, which won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize For YA Literature, and her Newbery Honor-winning titles, which include Brown Girl Dreaming. She was named the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, by the Library of Congress, for 2018-2019. Follow her on Twitter: @JackieWoodson
Please click here for our Literary Birthday Calendar