ABOUT KATHERINE JOHNSON
I found my way to writing for children at the end of a winding career path that included typesetting, graduate work in German literature, and a stint as a children’s librarian. I am now a freelance writer and editor, and I teach in the Professional Writing Program at Champlain College, in Burlington, Vermont. A new member of the New England SCBWI Regional Team, I have served on the Green Mountain Book Award Committee, which encourages high school students to read for pleasure. When I’m not clickety-clacking on the keyboard, I enjoy reading, yoga, and, depending on the season, gardening, walking, and snowshoeing.
In 2013 I received the Norma Fox Mazer Award from Vermont College of Fine Arts and was co-recipient of the PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Discovery Award for the same YA manuscript. I graduated from Vermont College of Fine Arts with an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults in January 2014.
I have loved playing with language since I first shaped letters with crayons and built words with magnetic letters. I write for the girl I was, for the girl I would be now, for the young people who are so much more confident than I ever was and for those even more desperate than I ever was. I write to say, “This is what could be” and “Be strong. Believe in yourself.” I write to add voices to the story choir—voices from the rural borderlands, voices that dream and desire and dare. I keep writing because my characters won’t let me go until their voices are out in the world being heard—and sometimes not even then.
I have learned that, if I trust the story, it will give me what it needs. All I have to do is pay close attention, and believe in myself and in the story.
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