Sunday, July 9, 2017

Kelly Barnhill's Keynote

Kelly Barnhill is the author of four novels, most recently The Girl Who Drank the Moon, winner of this year’s Newbery Medal. The Witch’s Boy received four starred reviews and was a finalist for the Minnesota Book Awards. Kelly Barnhill has been awarded writing fellowships from the Jerome Foundation, the Minnesota State Arts Board, and the McKnight Foundation. Visit her online at or on Twitter: @kellybarnhill.

Kelly quotes Emily Dickinson "Tell all the truth, but tell it slant…" and lets us know that

"I'm here to talk about Fairy Tales."

She shares her own journey of reading and discovering fairy tales from childhood. And how she discovered that the yearning for a slanted entry into truth is a universal one.

"It covers the pages like moss"

"Sharp sharp talons"

"A creature made of story"

"With the gift and burden of mind"

"Princes who would wed you and behead you"

"Dark woods, crooked paths, slanted light"

Every phrase Kelly uses feels like she's weaving a fairy tale for us, a meta-tale of discovering how fairy  tales can impact our selves, our minds, our journeys through childhood, adulthood, and the wider, wilder world.

"When we write for middle grade kids, we're not just writing for the kids they are, but we're writing for the adults they will be. And we're writing for our selves, at the age we were."

It's a remarkable speech, delivered with passion and artistry. One more moment to share...
"Sometimes you have to see the world as it isn't to see the world as it is."

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