Colloquium | Kathy DeMarco Van Cleve

Wednesday, September 26, 2018 - 12:00pm


Kathy DeMarco Van Cleve

NEVER CAUGHT: The process of adapting NBA finalist, NEVER CAUGHT by Erica Armstrong Dunbar, into a book for middle grade (ages 8-13) readers

NEVER CAUGHT: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge by Erica Armstrong Dunbar was published in 2017 to critical acclaim, widespread readership and awards lists, including becoming one of the five finalists for the 2017 National Book Award in Non-Fiction.  The young readers’ edition of the book will be published in January 2019 by Aladdin Books, and was adapted to maintain the narrative propulsion and historical revelation of the adult version while rendering it accessible, compelling and historically accurate to younger readers. (This latter element is harder than it looks for fiction writers!) This talk will examine the process of adapting the original book to one for a younger audience, from the perspective of a fiction writer who found herself immersed in the study and presentation of colonial American history, transcribing original sources (like the diaries of Martha Washington’s nephew and the writings of Richard Allen, founder of the AME Church), and constructing a book that would appeal to precocious and reluctant young readers so that this astonishing – and heretofore unknown -  story of Ona Judge, enslaved to George and Martha Washington since her birth, would became a necessary part of future generation's understanding of American colonial history.

Cinema Studies Program
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