Katherine Paterson to Inaugurate National, Phone-In Book Talks Tonight

Authors Guild announces two-week preview of its Booktalk Nation initiative to support traditional booksellers

Children’s book author Katherine Paterson, selected by the Library of Congress as the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, will answer questions from writer Tanya Lee Stone at 7 p.m. tonight in a live, national, phone-in event hosted by the Flying Pig Bookstore in Shelburne, Vermont. Readers can sign up for the call at booktalknation.com.

A two-time winner of the prestigious Newbery Medal and the National Book Award, Paterson is the author of more than 30 books, which include contemporary and historical fiction, in settings that range from realistic to fantastical. She is best known for Bridge to Terabithia.

Paterson’s latest title, The Flint Heart, is a retelling of the 1910 fairy tale of the same name by Eden Phillpotts. Paterson’s husband, John, first tried to get publishers to bring the original back into print. But Phillpotts’s style was deemed too long-winded for modern audience, so husband and wife collaborated on a new version, picking up the pace but preserving Phillpotts’s plot, characters and tone.

“It still has that sort of old-fashioned voice,” said Paterson. “It’s a charming voice; it’s a storyteller’s voice.”

In the book, a Stone Age man demands a talisman that will harden his heart so he can rule his tribe. The tribe’s magic man creates the Flint Heart, which leads to the destruction of the tribe. Thousands of years later, the Flint Heart reemerges, threatening to cause trouble all over again.

Readers from across the country can order personally-inscribed books including Paterson’s The Flint Heart, Bridge to Terabithia, Brother Sun, Sister Moon, and The Great Gilly Hopkins through booktalknation.com. The Flying Pig Bookstore will fulfill the orders after Paterson inscribes the books next week.

Booktalk Nation is a new series of phone-in author interviews sponsored by the Authors Guild, which seeks to support traditional, physical booksellers and highlight the key role they play in promoting a vibrant literary culture. Each talk in the series will be hosted by a local bookstore with ties to the featured author. The Guild is previewing the service over the next two weeks and will formally launch it in January. A few additional events for the two-week preview will be announced on Monday, along with more details on the program.

“I just hope everybody will support their independent bookstores,” said Paterson, who lives in Vermont. She said she was eager to participate because she’s seen first-hand how knowledgeable, committed booksellers help readers find just the right book.

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