Jane Yolen is an
author of children's books, fantasy, and science fiction. She is also
a poet, a teacher of writing and literature, and a reviewer of children's
literature. She has been called the Hans Christian Andersen of America
and the Aesop of the twentieth century. Jane Yolen's books and stories
have won the Caldecott Medal, two Nebula Awards, two Christopher Medals,
the World Fantasy Award, three Mythopoeic Fantasy Awards, the Golden Kite
Award, the Jewish Book Award, and the Association of Jewish Libraries
Award. This web book presents information
about her over two hundred books for children. It also contains essays,
poems, answers to frequently asked questions, a brief biography, her travel
schedule, and links to resources for teachers and writers. It is intended
for children, teachers, writers, storytellers, and lovers of children's
Jane Yolen is a little bit like the oracle. If you ask her a question you will always get an answer but may be it will not be the one you expected.
Introducing Jane Yolen
Imagination is an untamable creature. It
comes and goes where it wants. It crosses boundaries when it wills; sits
down on its haunches and howls when it feels like it. It defecates on
one’s best Aubusson carpet and sharpens its claws on the Chippendale sideboard.
It fornicates on public highways and farts before the queen.
I love the white-washed stone cottages of Scotland where I spend my summers. They are small cozy homes that seem to have grown rough hewn right up from the land. I love the gray stone mansions and the tall stone tower houses, too.
If you search the histories of any individual town in Scotland, or a particular street, you will find that these homes and walled gardens have often been built upon older, vanished buildings. Where a kirk or a tolbooth or a great hall once stood, now a townsman's seven-room house with mod cons squats.
But it is not just the site that has been cannibalized. The very stones have been reused. So in Scotland history lies upon history. As a wonderful little book on the royal burgh of Falkland puts it: "Absorbing stones from an old building into the fabric of the later one is. . . a way of holding on to the past."
After the stones have been pulled together and balanced and mortared into place, the walls are harled, or roughcast so as to protect the soft stone and mortar from the winter winds and heavy gales.
Stones, harling, a way of holding on to the past. It's all a perfect metaphor for writing a book.
Writers use stones from the past, reshaping and rebuilding with them. And then they protect the soft memories with a harling of technique.
How can it be otherwise? All fiction uses memory. Or re-memory
for those of us whose grasp of the past is exceeded by the need to embellish,
decorate, deepen, widen and otherwise change what was actual.
Interview with Jane Yolen
Take Joy: A Book for Writers offers good advice from one of America's leading story tellers. Jane Yolen's new book offers help for aspiring writers. Read Heather Blakey's interview with this master storyteller and author of more than 200 books.