Author Richard Peck '56 Reflects on "Staying in the Game" in Publishers Weekly
September 25, 2009
September 25, 2009, Greencastle, Ind. — "At this time of my life and career, I'm very interested in staying in the game," Richard Peck, the 1956 DePauw University graduate who has been called "America's best living author for young adults," tells Publishers Weekly. "So part of the rhythm of my life includes reading. I'm very interested in what younger people are writing right now, and how they're saying it. Writers like Cormier and Zindel were my early influences. Now I want mentors again, but they're going to be younger than me. Laurie Halse Anderson, Kate DiCamillo, John Green, Sarah Dessen, M.T. Anderson -- these are the people I'm learning from now. The field is so rich -- these are the good old days right now." (photo: Peck at a DePauw book signing in June 2006)
Peck is featured in an interview marking the release of his latest book, A Season of Gifts. The piece notes that Peck, a former teacher, published his first novel for young readers in 1971 and becamesthe first children's author ever to be awarded a National Humanities Medal. He's twice been a finalist for a National Book Award and won the Newbery Medal for A Year Down Yonder.
What is the author's biggest challenge? "Finding that young voice which will be the right one to tell the next story," Peck tells Publishers Weekly. "Will it be a boy or girl? Now or then? Urban or rural? I have to do casting calls-sit down and start writing in a particular voice. Sometimes the voice works and sometimes it doesn't, and I have to know when it doesn't."
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After winning the Newbery Medal in 2001, Peck told DePauw.edu that the University [Download Audio: "Peck on DePauw" 603KB] "made a writer out of me. It warned me never to show my rough draft to anybody. That helps. I write each of my books six times because I have to, and it's the sixth version my editor sees and nothing before that. I learned that from DePauw professors."Back