After spending the past several weeks hard at work writing and revising their personal narratives for this year’s Young Authors’ Book Project, Mr. Mitra’s sixty juniors and seniors at June Jordan School for Equity hosted an inspiring and engaging visit with acclaimed author Khaled Hosseini (The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns) on Wednesday, February 16.
Hosseini will be writing the foreword to the students’ forthcoming book, a collection of personal narratives about myth, and this was the first chance the soon-to-be published authors had to meet the writer who will introduce their work to the world. Hosseini shared his reflections on the process as well as the challenges and joys of writing in his own life. He provided encouraging and candid responses to all of the questions students posed, recounting the stories of his childhood spent in Afghanistan, his earliest memories of writing short stories, the challenges of immigrating to the United States as a teenager, and his devotion to writing even while practicing medicine.
From the moment he began answering questions, students were on the edges of their seats. They connected on a personal and professional level with Hosseini, who understood the toil of writing draft after draft, as they have been doing, and balancing a love of writing with all the pressures students face today. Mr. Mitra’s young authors sparked great anecdotes and pearls of wisdom from Hosseini with fantastic questions such as: “How do you handle writer’s block?” “Is it difficult to edit your own writing?” and “How have your parents responded to your career as a writer?”
Now it is back to the grindstone for the students, who will continue to meet one-on-one with their 826 Valencia volunteers as they polish their pieces for the book. But now, with fresh inspiration courtesy of Hosseini, the fifth and sixth and seventh drafts may not seem so daunting.
Thank you, Khaled Hosseini! All of the students, tutors, and teachers involved in the project look forward to seeing you again soon and reading the foreword you write to the book.