ACT Plus Writing Tips With Kaplan Experts

Tuesday January 14, 2014: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Traverwood Branch: Program Room

Brainstorming, organizing, and writing an essay in just 30 minutes is a daunting task, and that's just what test takers will face during the ACT Plus Writing test. But don't worry, we've got you covered - at this program, a Kaplan expert will guide you through the process of preparing to write an essay for the March ACT Plus Writing.

This event is intended for teens (grades 9-12).

"It's All Write!" Teen Short Story Contest 2014

Do you like to write? Do you have an idea that needs to get out of your head, or something already written that could use some editing? Then prepare for the 22nd annual "It's All Write!" Teen Short Story Contest, which will begin accepting submissions on January 27!

Students in grades 6-12 may submit a short story according to the 2014 guidelines from Monday, January 27 through Friday, March 14. Click here to learn more about the contest and view previous contest winners. Judges will choose the top three stories from each category (grades 6-8, 9-10, and 11-12) to receive cash prizes totaling $1500. Stay tuned to find out who will be on this year's panel of judges!

The speaker for this year's final awards ceremony on May 10 will be Michigan author K.A. Barson! She recently published the popular book, "45 Pounds (More or Less)."

We look forward to reading your story! For inspiration and ideas, check out the writing resources guide for teens.

Arborwiki Edit Night At Arbor Brewing

Wednesday April 23, 2014: 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm -- Arbor Brewing - 114 East Washington

What's ArborWiki? ArborWiki is the community generated source for details on everything from birthday deals to local history to the lowdown on local playgrounds.

Since it's a "civic wiki" it's created, edited and maintained by locals. Who are those locals? That could mean you! If you have an interest in any aspect of the Arbor/Ypsi area - parks, history, local happenings - you might be a perfect ArborWiki contributor or editor.

Come hang out and grab a frosty beverage at Arbor Brewing (114 East Washington in Ann Arbor), meet some of the current crew of editors, and hop in to edit or create entries about your community. Bring your laptop or use one one of ours!

Arborwiki Edit Night

Wednesday March 26, 2014: 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm -- Downtown Library: aadlfreespace

This event is intended for adults and teens grade 9 and up

What’s ArborWiki? It’s the community generated source for details on everything from birthday deals to local history to the lowdown on volunteer opportunities for youth and teens. Since it’s a “civic wiki” it’s created, edited and maintained by locals. That could mean you!

If you have an interest in any aspect of the Arbor/Ypsi area—parks, history, local happenings—you might be a perfect ArborWiki contributor or editor. Meet some of the current crew of editors and hop in to edit/create entries about your community. Bring your laptop or use one of ours!

For the Child Learning to Write: Little Red Writing

Little Red Writing by Joan Holub is a fun, witty picture book about Little Red, a brave little red pencil who sets out to write a story using what she knows about grammar and writing. First, however, she must face the hungry pencil sharpener, the Wolf 3000. Here is a sample of the cleverness of this book: ". . . she found herself writing a sentence that would not end but just kept going and going and running on and on although it had no purpose yet it would not get out of her story or say anything important . . . " School Library Journal named this one of the Best Picture Books of 2013.

National Book Award winners for 2013 have been announced

The 2013 National Book Awards, some of the most coveted of literary prizes, were announced last night at a gala event, held at New YOrk's landmark Cipriani Wall Street.

James McBride, author of The Good Lord Bird, was such an underdog, he had no prepared speech when he accepted the fiction prize. In 1857, abolitionist John Brown kills a slave owner and rescues Little Onion, the narrator of McBride's brilliant novel. Complication the inexorable lead-up to the raid at Harper's Ferry is that Brown mistakenly thinks Little Onion (a.k.a Henry Shackleford) is a girl, a disguise that Little Onion struggles to maintain. Visibly shaken by the award, McBride said the writing of his book saved him during a difficult period of his life when his mother and a much-loved niece died and his marriage fell apart.

George Packer, a staff writer for The New Yorker captured the non-fiction category for his searing examination of the class warfare currently being waged in America. The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America is based on dozens of interviews of the mainstays of economic stability have been eroded by the actions of Wall Street and the big banks.

In the poetry category, Mary Szybist won for Incarnadine. Szybist, a professor at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, OR, is no stranger to the spotlight. Her first collection of poetry, Granted (2003) which was a finalist for the 2003 National Book Critics Circle Award for poetry.

Cynthia Kadohata, a 2005 Newbery Medal winner for Kira-Kira, took home the award last night in the young people's literature category for The Thing about Luck. Twelve-year-old Japanese American Summer and her little brother are left in the care of their old-school grandparents when their mother and father are called away to Japan to care for an ailing relative.

The Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community was presented to Maya Angelou by her friend Toni Morrision.In presenting the award, Ms. Morrison said, "Dr. Maya Angelou, you improve our world by drawing from us, forcing from us our better selves."

Each winner received $10,000 and a statue made of bronze.

The Fundamentals of Plot

Saturday January 18, 2014: 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm -- Pittsfield Branch: Program Room

This event is intended for Adults and teens (grade 6 and up)

Many beginning writers are confused about plot and how to put all of their thoughts into a coherent novel. Many writing classes ignore plot altogether. But it is actually the plot—what happens next?—that keeps the pages turning.

Local science fiction writer Margaret Yang discusses how to structure a novel or shorter work; how to see the “big picture” story arc; how to start and end a story in the right place; and how to avoid common writing traps like infodumps and other dull spots.

Participants will make a five-sentence outline that will provide a blueprint for a story. Once writers understand the fundamentals of story structure, they will never again be stuck or wonder “what happens next?”

Doris Lessing, groundbreaking novelist, has died

Doris Lessing, whose 1962 novel, The Golden Notebook, electrified young women with its forward-thinking themes, died yesterday in London.

Ms. Lessing was born in Iran in 1919 and raised in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) by a father grievously wounded in World War I and a cranky mother who chomped at the bit to escape her domestic responsibilities. Lessing attributed her mother's resentment as a key factor in shaping her own evolving discoveries of the untapped power of women at an early age. She dropped out of school at 14 and discovered writing.

Her first book, the 1950 release of The Grass Is Singing, was instantly controversial. Set in then-Rhodesia, it is the searing account of a bored white farmer's wife and her relationship with one of the farm's black slaves. Lessing's relentless examination of the endless layers of injustice that she saw everywhere was so ferocious that she was labeled a 'prohibited alien' by the governments of South Africa and Southern Rhodesia in 1956 for her inflammatory opinions.

In 1962, Lessing became one of the unwilling literary leaders of the nascent feminist movement, a label eschewed by her because she said the early feminists' embrace of all things political made them angry name-callers. The Golden Notebook tackled head-on the full menu of women's issues that to this day drive many social issues conversations. Marriage vs. freedom, motherhood vs. career, intellect vs. coy submissiveness, black vs. white. She herself lived of what she wrote, abandoning two husbands and two out of her three children when she fled to England.

Ms. Lessing also wrote two very popular series. The Children of Violence, which begins with Martha Quest (1952) and concludes seventeen years later with entry number five, The Four-Gated City (1969). During the span of this series, a teenage Martha Quest leaves her life on an African farm and flees to England, endures the horrors of World War II, and forges a new, more independent, if fraught life, in post-war London.

The second series is a five-entry science fiction work, Canopus in Argos: Archives (1979-1983).

Ms. Lessing was recipient of many awards. One of her most notable distinctions was to be named the oldest Nobel laureate for literature, receiving that honor in 2007 when she was 88 years old. She claimed it ruined her life because the demands on her time that accompanied such an honor, made it impossible for her to write.

Her last book, Alfred and Emily (2008) was a study of her parents' life, filled with speculation about what their lives would have been like if World War I had not happened.

Ms. Lessing was 94.

NaNoWriMo 2013 has begun!

Have you always wanted to write a novel but always said “One day…”? Well this year you can make that “one day” into “right now” by participating in National Novel Writing Month (also known as NaNoWriMo)! Participants of NaNoWriMo attempt to write a full first draft of a novel of at least 50,000 words by midnight on November 30.

It’s only November 2, so you can still take part! To sign up and find more information, visit nanowrimo.org.

Still unsure and have some questions about the process? Check out NaNoWriMo’s FAQ page for answers.

If you have decided to join in on the fun, be sure to stop by AADL’s NaNoWriMo events, including a write-in and a presentation by D.E. Johnson.

Awards Celebration: 3rd-5th Grade Short Story Challenge

Tuesday June 3, 2014: 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

Congratulations on writing and submitting a story to the 3rd-5th Grade Short Story Challenge! Come to the Multipurpose Room at the Downtown branch to celebrate writing with your friends and family on Tuesday, June 3 at 7pm. Michigan children's author Lisa Wheeler will be there to talk about writing and present the awards. AADL will provide light refreshments and take pictures of the event. All writers will receive a certificate of participation and the top three winners from each grade will receive a prize! We hope to see you there!

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