On Friday, November 30, bestselling author Ally Condie came to Durham Academy as part of her national book tour in support of her new novel Reached. Condie spoke to a group of over two hundred 7th and 8th graders about the process of writing. She talked about how she uses places, people, events and other inspirations significant to her to shape her novels. During her entertaining presentation she encouraged the students to think about what they would like to create: music, writing, film, art, etc. She then explained how to incorporate personal experiences into their work to make their creations richer and more meaningful.
As a former high school English teacher, Condie knows how to speak a large group of students. She kept her audience engaged from start to finish with interesting stories and lots of pop culture references. She also maintained a great sense of humor during her Q&A with the students, especially when asked if anyone blows up in her books. I heard nothing but positive comments from both teachers and students following the program. Though her books are marketed primarily to teen girls, the male
members of the audience listened intently and were curious about her novels. A few
boys came to check out Matched that afternoon.
Ms. Condie's appearance was made possible with the help of Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh. Quail Ridge provided Ms. Condie's novels for purchase following the presentation. About 25 students from Kestral Heights Charter School and 15 students from Duke School were able to attend this event. I was very happy to be able to welcome these students. They helped make up a wonderful audience.