Richard Peck

Literary Birthday – 5 April – Richard Peck


  1. Humour is anger that was sent to finishing school.
  2. We don’t write what we know. We write what we wonder about.
  3. When I get a page exactly the way I want it, and that will be in the eighth or 10th version, I go back and take out 20 words. And then when I feel I’ve pared it to the bone, and can’t pare it any more, then I’ve got five more words to go. And they’re always there for the paring. There are no first-draft sentences in any of my work.
  4. Fiction isn’t what ‘was’. It’s ‘what if?’.
  5. We write by the light of every story we have ever read.
  6. In the end, I take the first chapter I’ve written and throw it away. The first chapter has to have all the issues, themes, hints and clues laid in, but I don’t know all of that until the end. I always enjoy writing that first chapter last.
  7. Nobody but a reader becomes a writer.
  8. The only way you can write is by the light of the bridges burning behind you.

Richard Peck was an American novelist known for his contributions to modern young adult literature. He was awarded the Newbery Medal in 2001 for his novel A Year Down Yonder.


by Amanda Patterson

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