Alaya Dawn Johnson Author Visit Kit
Alaya Dawn Johnson is the author of The Summer Prince, which has received starred reviews from Kirkus, Booklist and Publishers Weekly. It is a Junior Library Guild selection for Spring 2013 and a YALSA nominee for their 2013 BFYA list. Her short story “Love Will Tear Us Apart” appeared in the anthology Zombies vs. Unicorns, and she has also published four novels for adults. Alaya lives in New York City, and is particularly willing to travel to the Washington, D.C. area for visits. You can learn more at her website, www.alayadawnjohnson.com.
A Writer’s Journey
45 minutes to 1 hour (including Q&A). This presentation is geared toward high school audiences. Alaya discusses how she came to be a professional writer, particularly focusing on her influences and aspirations in high school and college (when she published her first professional story). She discusses traveling, and how her many trips to different parts of the world have informed her writing. She tells stories about the formative trip she took with her sister and cousin to Brazil, which provided the initial inspiration for The Summer Prince. She then discusses each of her novels briefly, including a few short excerpts. This includes an audio/visual component.
How To Write A Novel
45 minutes to an hour (including Q&A). This talk is designed to appeal to creative students, 7th grade and up, who have considered fiction writing but might not be sure how to tackle something as long or complex as a novel. This will cover at a basic level the genres, structures and writing styles of a modern novel, and will conclude with a general discussion of the business of writing (critique groups, agents, publishers, etc.) Alaya’s aim with this talk is to give students practical information and inspiration—exactly what she would have benefited from at that age.
Fiction Writing Workshop
2 hours. Alaya’s workshops are generally longer and more involved than her basic presentations (and they can be combined with any of the presentations, as well). These work better with smaller groups of students (20 or fewer), so that each can get a chance to participate and learn. These are geared toward nurturing young writers (7th grade and up), helping them learn the basics of craft and providing them with some external motivation to push themselves as writers.
The workshop includes a general discussion of writing mechanics and technique, followed by writing exercises and a Q&A session. The students will work individually and in groups and have a chance to present material over the course of the workshop.
In addition to the foregoing, Alaya can tailor her presentations to the needs of the school or library. Other possibilities include why she has chosen the genres of young adult and speculative literature, race and gender issues in her particular fields, and where to find inspiration.
Conferences & Festivals
The Creative Spark(s)
30 to 45 minutes. Alaya discusses inspiration and the creative process, relating it particularly to how she wrote The Summer Prince. Alaya describes the formative trip she took with her sister and cousin to Brazil, which provided the initial inspiration for The Summer Prince. Then, she brings together the many other disparate inspirations that informed the book: vampires, love triangles, Dorothy Dunnett, installation art, and more, in a story that concludes with an epic 3-day train ride across the country where she began to write the novel. This includes a visual component.
Alaya is available for 30-minute Skype visits and Q&A with book groups, library groups or classes who have read at least one of her books. It is particularly helpful for some of the questions to be submitted beforehand.
As required by the presentations, Alaya will bring her own computer for visuals and audio.
Alaya’s honorarium starts at $500. For a specific quote, please fill out our Author Request form and the Author Visits Manager will respond shortly.