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A Conversation with Lois Lowry: Award-Winning Author Describes Imaginative Life

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Lois Lowry, author of many award-winning novels including “Number the Stars” and “The Giver,” visited the campus on Nov. 8. Lowry is an internationally known author with 45 books ranging on topics from the Holocaust to futuristic worlds.

“I never wanted to do anything else but write,” Lowry said. “I loved reading when I was a little girl.”

“Number the Stars” is a 1989 novel that depicts life during World War II about a Jewish girl and her family trying to escape attacks from the Nazis in Copenhagen, Denmark.

“A friend of mine grew up during World War II in Copenhagen. It took place in 1943 and I realized it was a good story for kids. This story conveys history.”

Another book, “The Giver,” published in 1993, was about a boy named Jonas who lives in a community that has no emotions or feelings. The book won a Newbury Award in 1994.

“A couple of things influenced ‘The Giver.’ Both dreams and memory were the topic for ‘The Giver.’ It took place in the future because you cannot do that in the modern world,” Lowry said as she indicated it was not meant to be a science fiction story.

The film adaptation for “The Giver” featured movie stars Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, and Brenton Thwaites. The movie was released by Walden Media in 2014 and won the Heartland Film Award in 2014.

Lowry went to South Africa for the filming of the movie. She has met celebrities such as Taylor Swift, Katie Holmes, and Jeff Bridges. Lowry did not get to meet Meryl Streep until the filming process.

Lowry believes that writing has been a major part of her life. She has described how she wrote for different outlets.

“Originally, I started out as a journalist, writing nonfiction, before I started to write fiction,” she said.

Lowry has been an author for 40 years and has been continuing to make an impact on everyone ranging from children to young adults and adults.

Lowry’s first book, “A Summer to Die” came out in 1977. The story was based on her sister’s death when she was a little girl.

Lowry’s favorite book was a book called “Indian Captive” written by Lois Lenski. She was heavily inspired by this book.

“I discovered my love for books and I could relate to the character in the book,” said Lowry. “When I started writing books, I got a letter from a girl talking about how she loved that book and thought it was me.” She apologized and stated it was Lenski who wrote “Indian Captive”.

The book was about a blonde-haired girl who transformed into a Native American after she was captured by a Native American tribe.

Lowry attended the university to talk to students about her creative life as well as aspiring writers and students alike.

“Granted this may sound a little pessimistic, but, writers need a course of study to support themselves and very few writers are able to make a living writing for their careers.”

 

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