Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-06-08



Jacqueline Woodson Speaks on Her 'Youthful' Writing

This article shared 7339 times since Tue Feb 1, 2005
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

by Rachel Pepper

An award-winning writer for young adults and children, Jacqueline Woodson is one of the most talented dyke writers we have today. Author of such celebrated books as If You Come Softly, The House You Pass on the Way, and The Dear One, Woodson is unafraid to tackle subjects such as child abuse, interracial relationships, and lesbianism in her books.

Most of her stories are told from the perspective of teenagers, and many of her main characters are young African-American girls. All of Woodson's stories are sensitively told, and she easily captures the hearts of her readers—many of whom find themselves reflected back from the pages of a novel for the very first time. Her books have struck a chord with readers world-wide, even while some libraries face them sometimes being 'banned' for their occasional 'controversial' subject matter.

Born in Columbus, Ohio, and a long-term New York City inhabitant, Woodson now resides with her partner Juliet, a medical resident, and three-year-old daughter Toshi, in their Brooklyn brownstone. Long-time fan and fellow writer Rachel Pepper caught up with Jackie recently for an interview.

RP: How would you describe your vision as a writer?

JW: I'd love to use literature as a means of changing the world—the way people think, see other people, act. I think writing is a powerful tool and I wake up hoping to do something to impact the greater good of this world.

RP: Where do you get the ideas for your books?

JW: I get my ideas from everywhere—stuff I see, read, hear, and think. They just come and I write them down. Nothing is ever based on a real person although there are parts of people I know or things I've experienced in the books sometimes. I'm not conscious that I'm doing it until years later. Sometimes kids ask me to put them in my books and maybe they'll appear on the dedication page or something. But usually if a kid or a friend asks me to write about them, I tell them I'll help them write their own stories. I don't want to tell another person's story—I think that's wrong.

RP: How many and what awards have you won for your writing?

JW: Probably close to 70—lots of state awards and library awards, two National Book Award Honors, three Coretta Scott King Honors and a Coretta Scott King Award, the LA Times Book Prize, a Parent's Magazine Parent's Choice Award, and various storytelling awards. This year, Miracle's Boys was chosen as the Baltimore Book, meaning every kid in Baltimore gets a copy of it to read—as do their parents. My newest is Reading Rainbow. They chose my book Visiting Day, which is about a girl who goes to visit her dad in prison to be the main part of an hour-long episode or the show.

RP: What are you working on at the moment?

JW: A book about a boy. That's all I know about it right now. I never outline, just let the story come. And the boy is about 12. Not sure if he's Black or white yet.

RP: You are listed in a book called Raising Lifelong Learners as a young adult author in the ranks of Lois Lowry, Walter Dean Myers and Paula Fox, among others. Congrats! How does this make you feel?

JW: It's amazing to be listed among some of my all-time favorite writers—writers who taught ME a lot. It's wild and surreal.

RP: Have you ever met with any publisher resistance or been 'banned' for the subject matter of your books?

JW: I'm a bit immune to the banning but know it's happening all over the place, given the topics I cover. But if I walk into a school library and none of my books are there—is it the librarian's aesthetic, economics, or censorship?—I don't know. But I've had some stuff with my publisher Scholastic in the past around From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun. People writing in complaining. I keep my head out of it though—I don't want to know about resistance—it only makes me sad for the kids who are being kept from reading.

RP: Why do you think parents, kids, and educators all love your books?

JW: I think they love the universality of them—how I can write about two girls in the south and kids in the city can relate. I think people respond also, to the questions I raise about the world. And I think people love good stories that make them think.

RP: I see that there is a new book out about you? How did that come about?

JW: I was interviewed a lot for it by a woman named Lois Stover. She was amazing and respectful and really sweet. I think my life is way too complicated for one book to hold the whole story though. I have a copy of the book but can't bring myself to read it—it's too scary. I can't get that kind of distance to read 'about me' that way.

RP: Is it true that Spike Lee is making a series based on your books?

JW: There will be a mini-series called Miracle's Boys that will air in February 2005 [ on The N, a programming arm of MTV networks ] and is based on my book of the same title. Spike is doing the first and last in the six-part series. Other directors ( Levar Burton, Ernest Dickerson, Bill Duke, etc. ) are doing the other shows. It's pretty much an all-star cast—Jorge Posada and Tiki Barber are playing coaches on a little league team. It's being filmed in Harlem and is the first Black drama for teens! So when I should be writing I'm hanging out on the set being blown away by it all. I get to sit in one of those high director's chairs and everything!! And people are really nice to me. It's been this really great thing to see all of these people of color working on it—I mean the cast, the crew, it's great. They're gonna do this big screening at the Apollo. Probably with some of that red carpet!

Woodson on N Network

Here are details on the film based on Woodson's book.

The N, the nighttime network for teens, will premiere Miracle's Boys, the network's first-ever dramatic mini-series, that centers around three half-Puerto Rican, half-African-American, orphaned teenage brothers living in Harlem and their struggle to hold their family together. The mini-series, which was shot entirely on location in Harlem, will premiere in three, hour-long installments on The N during Black History Month. Miracle's Boys ( Part 1 ) will premiere on Friday, Feb. 18, with Parts II and III premiering that same weekend on Saturday, Feb. 19 and Sunday, Feb. 20.

Miracle's Boys was directed by Spike Lee, LeVar Burton, Bill Duke, Ernest Dickerson and Neema Barnette. In addition, the Miracle's Boys theme song was written and performed by musician/rapper Nas. The three-part mini-series also features appearances by NY Yankees' All-Star catcher Jorge Posada and NY Giants' running back Tiki Barber who play baseball coaches of the Harlem Teen

League. See .

This article shared 7339 times since Tue Feb 1, 2005
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


Gay News

How Coming Out in the 1970s Helped Me Make Brave, Life-changing Decisions 2022-06-25
By Edith Forbes, author of Tracking A Shadow: My Lived Experiment With MS - As a child growing up in Wyoming in the 1960's, I did not know any actual person who was gay. I knew exactly one fact about gay people, a fact universally accepted but never talked about: Gay people were strange. Even ...

Gay News

Five Worth Finding: WNDR Museum, Prince, queer books, flowers 2022-06-16
- — WNDR Museum's Pride event "Crafting with Queens": The West Loop museum is usually entertainment and, um, wondrous enough on its own—but during Pride Month, WNDR is queering things up with "Crafting with Queens" on Tuesday, ...

Gay News

Northwestern University Libraries and Center for Applied Transgender Studies launch trans studies journal 2022-06-16
- Northwestern University Libraries (NUL) and the Center for Applied Transgender Studies (CATS) are now publishing the Bulletin of Applied Transgender Studies. The Bulletin of Applied Transgender Studies (BATS)—the first journal ...

Gay News

Catholic publisher cancels Chicago theologian's 'Queer God de Amor' book 2022-06-13
- On June 9, New Ways Ministry received the following statement by Miguel Diaz, a former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See and the John Courtney Murray, S.J., University Chair in Public Service at Loyola University Chicago. ...

Gay News

34th annual Lambda Literary award winners announced 2022-06-13
-- From a press release - New York, NY, June 11, 2022 — Lambda Literary, the nation's premier LGBTQ literary organization, announced the winners of the 34th Annual Lambda Literary Awards (a.k.a. the "Lammys") at a live virtual award ceremony hosted by ...

Gay News

TRAVEL Descanso is Palm Springs newest gay resort 2022-06-08
- Descanso is the first resort for gay men to open in Palm Springs in more than 10 years, and "The response has been beyond expectations," said general manager Kent Taylor. Weekends are already booked through June, ...

Gay News

BOOKS Artist Sam Kirk talks 'The Meaning of Pride' 2022-06-08
- In the children's book The Meaning of Pride, Rosiee Thor pens an ode to LGBTQ+ culture and identity by celebrating the beauty, significance and many dimensions of the concept of Pride—and showing that the word can ...

Gay News

Gerber/Hart unveils Pride Month events with 'Drag,' 'Bad Gays,' sneak peek 2022-05-30
- Gerber/Hart Library has revealed the events it will host for Pride Month. —On Saturday, June 4, at 3 p.m., Gerber/Hart will celebrate the release of Legends of Drag: Queens of a Certain Age with Unabridged Books ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Laverne Cox, PBS special, Ricky Martin, queer books/authors 2022-05-29
- Nouveau Productions and PBS announced a new collaboration for Pride Month, per a press release. The special True Colors: LGBTQ+ Our Stories, Our Songs will offer a unique look at the history of the LGBTQ+ community ...

Gay News

State Farm drops GenderCool Project; Illinois General Assembly LGBTQ Caucus, Equality Illinois respond 2022-05-26
- This week in response to an outcry from a hateful few, Illinois-based insurer State Farm dropped their support for The GenderCool Project, which provides LGBTQ-affirming books to schools across the country on a voluntary basis. We ...

Gay News

Actor/model David Pevsner challenges age and body stereotypes in recent book 2022-05-24
- When writing his recent book—Damn Shame: Desire, Defiance and Show Tunes—actor/model/filmmaker David Pevsner noticed three themes coming to the fore: body shame, sexuality and ageism. "All three of those are ...

Gay News

Gayla Turner talks new book uncovering her grandmother's secret queer identity 2022-05-23
- In Gayla Turner's debut book, Don't You Dare: Uncovering Lost Love (BookBaby, May 24), she reveals her Grandmother Ruby's (1896-1977) century-old secret queer identity that she hid from the wider world. This revelation became c ...

Gay News

HIV/AIDS activist Rae Lewis-Thornton on her new memoir, 'Unprotected' 2022-05-18
- Emmy-winning HIV/AIDS activist, author, minister, political organizer, motivational speaker, life coach, jewelry designer and social media figure Rae Clara Lewis-Thornton's recently released book, Unprotected: A Memoir, is already a pre-release ...

Gay News

TV Writer Joel Kim Booster, director Andrew Ahn take a trip to 'Fire Island' 2022-05-15
- Based on the classic Jane Austen book Pride and Prejudice, the new Fox Searchlight film Fire Island has an important story to tell LGBTQ+ audiences specifically. In that story, there are plenty of laughs along the ...

Gay News

BOOKS 'Tinderbox' author to appear in Palatine on June 14 2022-05-13
- Author Robert Fieseler will discuss his debut book—Tinderbox: The Untold Story of the Up Stairs Lounge Fire and the Rise of Gay Liberation—on Tuesday, June 14, at 7 p.m. at Palatine's Cutting Hall Performing Arts Center, ...


Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.