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Author Patricia McKissick Conducts Workshop for Young Writers October 17

The Springfield-Greene County Library District has a rich history of partnering with area institutions to bring the best of education and entertainment to everyone.
One of those partnerships is bringing author Patricia McKissack to Springfield for a Young Writers’ Workshop, “Finding Your Own Voice,” Oct. 17. The event will be from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. in Meyer Library Auditorium on the Missouri State University campus.

The free workshop is open to the public and is appropriate for middle school and high school students. For registration and parking information call the Midtown Carnegie Branch Library at 862-0135.

McKissack fondly recalls listening to her grandparents spin hair-raising ghost stories and dramatizing episodes of their childhood.

As a youngster, she says, she had no idea that her heritage would one day lead to  a writing career. McKissack has written more than 100 books and won numerous awards, including one for The Dark-Thirty: Southern Tales of the Supernatural.
On Oct. 17 she’ll discuss how a writer finds his or her own voice in writing fiction or nonfiction, and will present techniques writers use to develop and project their own unique voices.

Her visit is being funded through grants from the NAACP Springfield Branch, Drury University, MSU, Springfield-Greene County Library Foundation and Springfield Public Schools.

McKissack’s visit is one of two events leading up to Springfield’s observance of the 21st National African American Read-In Chain Feb. 21 and 22, 2010. The Read-In has encouraged youths to make reading a life-long, life-enriching practice. 
“We are thrilled to have such an important author launch Springfield’s African American Read-In Chain,” said Grace Jackson-Brown, chair of the local Read-In Committee and MSU library science assistant professor. “This is a wonderful opportunity for our young people to meet and learn from one of the most prolific authors working today.”
Nov. 15 will feature a 3 to 5 p.m. program and book signing by Missouri storyteller Gladys Caines Coggswell. Her book on storytelling traditions in Missouri was published by the University of Missouri Press.      
Local sponsors of the Read-In are the NAACP Springfield Branch, Drury University, Missouri State University, Springfield-Greene County Library District, and Springfield Public Schools. 

On a personal note: After a long and rich career as a News-Leader reporter, I’m embracing a new career in the Library district. Jeanne Duffey served in that role until her retirement in August. I look forward to visiting with readers regularly in this column about the many programs, services, collections and opportunities waiting for you at the Library.
Kathleen O’Dell, community relations director for the Springfield-Greene County Library District, can be reached at

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