About the Author: Speaking

Amy enjoys speaking to both young people and adults about writing, history, and the creative process. An enthusiastic and experienced presenter, she has spoken on a number of public radio programs and on television, and she has served as a keynote conference presenter. Her lectures have taken her from coast to coast in the United States, from Harvard's Sackler Museum to the Los Angeles Public Library, as well as many wonderful independent bookstores, classrooms, and lecture halls in between.

Though Amy appreciates every invitation she receives, at the moment she is only able to take on a few engagements a year. If you would like her to visit your school, library, museum, bookstore, or organization, please contact her to discuss presentation topics, scheduling, fees, and the special needs or interests of your group.

A sample of talks she's given in the past:

Writing with Both Sides of Your Brain

This playful, writing-intensive workshop focuses on ways to get both parts of the brain involved in writing. Scientists have shown that when we’re writing, we’re often using just half of our brain — the orderly part that handles logic and language. The other part is also important — it deals with art and imagination and intuition — but it can be much harder to harness, but without it our writing may be dull and lifeless.

After talking a bit about the science behind writing, Amy leads the group through a series of exercises that engage the "hidden" part of our brains and that have been shown to help us write when we feel we have nothing to say or no way to say it. It's exciting to see people's faces light up as they discover a secret back door into writing.

A Perfect Red

This lively slide presentation is a visual feast that tells the story of the color red — from Cro-Magnon cave-art and Pompeiian frescoes to Renaissance masterpieces to 20th-century fashion — and delves into the mysteries of cochineal, the most powerful natural red dye in the world. Amy brings cochineal and hand-dyed cochineal silks with her when she travels, so that audiences can see this mysterious red for themselves, and understand why it was one of the world’s greatest luxuries for so long.

A Writer's Journey: From Idea to Book

In this multimedia presentation, Amy talks partly about her own journey as a writer, starting with the stories she wrote and the journals she kept when she was a kid. She also uses overhead illustrations and props to explain how writers go from an idea to a finished book. Imagination, research, and revision are the points she emphasizes, and with that in mind she shares old maps and drawings she used for research, early outlines, and manuscript pages with scribbled revision notes and editorial comments. She ends by answering lots of questions about the writing life.