Writing the Past

What a glorious time we had!

In the myriad ways the past is presented to young readers, including history, fiction, biography, memoir, poetry and historical fantasy, many questions are raised. In recreating yesterday as today, how does the writer avoid the slippery wisdom of hindsight? For audiences with short personal histories, programmed to look forward, what is the point of looking back? How trapped are readers, young and old, in their own times? Can a novel be more authentic than an historian’s account of the same period? What are the demands of writing, illustrating and reading about our own past or a time before our own? At Writing the Past, we explored these questions. Presentations by authors and illustrators shared a variety of perspectives and experiences. We celebrated the life of John Rowe Townsend, author, scholar, lecturer and former Adjunct Board member of CLNE. Poetry, singing, shared meals and book discussions added to the liveliness of the weekend.