Federico García Lorca once gave a speech in Havana—my dad’s hometown—about duende. He used that word to describe a dangerous and impish sense of art.
It also means “goblin.”
The Spanish translation of my first book is now out in the world, and I love the new title.
In his speech Lorca made a point of praising translators, interpreters, conductors, performers—those who make something new out of something that was already there.
Thanks to my translators. It’s a rare thrill to see my book change into something new.
The Chinese title of Goblin Secrets is twice as long as the Japanese. I don’t know what shades of meaning are implied by either. I’d love to know. I also love the masks on both covers:
Where is the duende? Through the empty archway a wind of the spirit enters, blowing insistently over the heads of the dead, in search of new landscapes and unknown accents: a wind with the odour of a child’s saliva, crushed grass, and medusa’s veil, announcing the endless baptism of freshly created things. – Federico García Lorca, translated by A. S. Kline
(The whole speech is like that. It reads more like poetry than prose.)
This is my first science fiction novel. I babbled about it on John Scalzi’s blog. Kirkus gave it a starred review. The great Héctor Tobar reviewed it for the New York Times. You can find a few sample chapters here.
“The Only Known Law,” Fantasy & Science Fiction, July/August 2014. I chat about the story with C.C. Finlay here.
“Welcome,” Kaleidoscope: Diverse YA Science Fiction & Fantasy Stories, August 2014
“Death Comes Sideways to the Mall,” Apex Magazine, March 2014
“The War Between the Water and the Road,” Unstuck #3, February 2014. The Minnesota Center for Book Arts just reprinted this one in an absurdly gorgeous, handmade edition illustrated by Amanda Ritchie, Chan Chau, and Amaya Goldsmith. Here’s a woodblock print of the ghost.
This picture might show up sideways in your browser. I don’t know why. It’s probably haunted.
So far the only thing I know about 2015 is that Nomad, the sequel to Ambassador, will be out in September.
Happy New Year, everybody. I hope this next circuit around the sun treats you splendidly.
“We will need writers who can remember freedom. Poets, visionaries—the realists of a larger reality…Resistance and change often begin in art, and very often in our art—the art of words.” – Ursula K. Le Guin, 2014 National Book Awards
“I love how much love there is in the world of young adult and children’s literature, and how much deep respect we have for each other, how we know the world wouldn’t be complete without all of our stories in it.” – Jacqueline Woodson, 2014 National Book Awards
This mission is what’s been passed down to me — to write stories that have been historically absent in this country’s body of literature, to create mirrors for the people who so rarely see themselves inside contemporary fiction, and windows for those who think we are no more than the stereotypes they’re so afraid of. To give young people — and all people — a sense of this country’s brilliant and brutal history, so that no one ever thinks they can walk onto a stage one evening and laugh at another’s too often painful past. – Jacqueline Woodson, “The Pain of the Watermelon Joke”
Ambassador will launch at the local planetarium! Join me for stargazing and snag a copy of of the book before anybody else does.
Wednesday, September 17th @ 6:30 pm at Como Elementary Planetarium
The official publication date is the following week, at which point I’ll celebrate further with Addendum Books and the splendid Stu Gibbs.
Monday, September 22nd @ 7:00 pm at Addendum Books
Addendum is an excellent place to find books for kids. Come find books if you happen to be a kid, or if you know any kids, or if you’re wise enough to remember your own kid-hood and still savor such stories.
July was a month of mostly teaching, and it was good.
First I joined the faculty of the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. The on-campus residency was an intense fortnight full of warmth, welcome, and an exacting dedication to literary craft. Writers need community, and VCFA is an amazing place to find it.
Next I taught at Shared Worlds, a writing camp for teenagers. Students create worlds in the first week and write stories set in those freshly minted places during the second. My classroom of kids came up with a brilliant setting and a nuanced way to write about violence. I wish this workshop had existed when I was fourteen. Writers of all ages need community. You might find yours here.
After Shared Worlds I went on a virtual classroom visit with journalist and 6th grader Grace Clark. The video is here. (Scroll down a bit.) Don’t miss the Kathi Appelt interview on the same page.
Now July is over. The next thing on my calendar is the Mythopoeic Award Ceremony, though sadly I won’t get to be there in person. Myth-makers, world-builders, and scholars of the Inklings will be honored. One of the following novels will win in the kidlit category:
Shadows by Robin McKinley,
Conjured by Sara Beth Durst,
Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac,
Doll Bones by Holly Black,
or Ghoulish Song by me.
This is thrilling and intimidating. Holly Black is a friend, mentor, and one of my Clarion instructors. Joseph Bruchac has written approximately a bazillion badass books. Sara Beth Durst has won the Mythopoeic Award before. And I’ve read and loved Robin McKinley’s novels since eighth grade.
Feels good to stand in such company.