During this year’s Writer in Residence keynote address, novelist Laura Ruby shared her fascination with the “weird and creepy” with the entire School community in the Van Voorhis Lecture Hall on Sept. 18.
To the theme of “feral child,” Ruby’s address included accounts of her early enamoration of books and storytelling, including telling herself stories while staring outside the window during class.
“For as long as I can remember, I've been a lover of stories… As much as I loved running amuck with my friends, my greatest adventures took place in books,” she said.
An author of mystery and spooky young adult fiction, ghosts, monsters, and “lots and lots of bees” always seem to find their way into Ruby’s stories. Throughout the keynote, she also touched on themes of perseverance and following your own path, even when people don’t understand or support you.
“Read what you love and write what you love… Everyone has a story, and there’s a million ways to tell them,” Ruby told students. “Your stories are worth telling, your art is worth sharing. You have a unique perspective.”
The presentation, which included a reading from Ruby’s next novel, was followed by a standing ovation, Q&A, and book signing. The next day, Ruby visited classes and met with small groups of students. To prepare for her visit, all incoming ninth grade students read Ruby’s Bone Gap over the summer while Advanced English III students read Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All.
“Stories are a shared experience. My books are not complete without the readers,” Ruby said.
Laura Ruby has authored 12 young adult (YA) novels and many other works which have earned myriad accolades, including being recognized as a National Book Award Finalist; winner of the Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature; NPR's Best YA Novel; Booklist's Best YA Novel; School Library Journal’s Best YA Novel; Shelf Awareness Best YA Novel; and Book Page’s #1 YA Novel.
Support for the Writer in Residence program is provided through the Chatham Hall endowment. When fully funded, the program will be named the "Claudia Emerson ’75 Writer in Residence" in tribute to the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Chatham Hall Trustee, alumna, former dean and faculty member, and Chatham-native who twice served as a Writer in Residence. For more information, please contact Chief Advancement Officer Christine Knight.