Discussion:
Richard Wayne Peck, 84, Newbery-winning YA novelist (A Year Down Yonder)
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That Derek
2018-05-24 18:56:08 UTC
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Per Wikipedia ... I cannot locate a decent obit yet.

Is there a Lenona in the house?!
That Derek
2018-05-25 05:07:29 UTC
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https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/childrens/childrens-authors/article/76968-obituary-richard-peck.html

Obituary: Richard Peck

By Shannon Maughan | May 24, 2018

Author Richard Peck, winner of the Newbery Medal and widely acclaimed for his realistic YA novels, died May 23 at his home in New York City following a long illness. He was 84.

Peck was born April 5, 1934 in Decatur, Ill., a place he described in his autobiography for Something About the Author as “in middle Middle America.” His mother was one of seven siblings, and his maternal grandmother also had many sisters, so as a boy, Peck recalled being “surrounded by elders of all ages,” many of whom had what he considered “fine names.” The stories related by the old men who gathered at his father’s Phillips 66 gas station, and the tales of his grandmother, aunts, and uncles were always swirling around him. “From my father I learned nostalgia as an art form,” Peck wrote in his autobiography. And his father’s experiences growing up in the country also added to the rich storytelling mix.

For his first 18 years, Peck grew up in a house located at the edge of an expansive city park that had a colorful history as a racetrack, county fairgrounds, and an amusement park over the years. He often spoke of the adventures he had while exploring there. Though Peck would eventually live in New York City for most of his life, the distinct sense of place from his boyhood remained with him, and he set most of his novels in the Midwest. In addition to the Peck family’s oral traditions, Peck recalled that his mother had read to him from a very young age, making him eager to tackle school and the larger world beyond. “I wanted to be a writer before I could read,” he said.

At age 16, Peck traveled to New York City for the first time, visiting a distant relative who worked at the United Nations and recalled, “This was the place I’d been homesick for all along.” In his senior year of high school, a particularly tough English teacher challenged Peck to master writing skills—rewriting, meeting deadlines, gathering interesting material—that he carried with him throughout his career. Peck earned a scholarship to DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind., planning to be a teacher. He spent his junior year abroad at Exeter University in England before graduating from DePauw in 1956 with a B.A. in English Literature. After graduation, he served two years in the U.S. Army in Stuttgart, Germany, where he worked as a chaplain’s assistant largely doing writing, including sermons, and paperwork during a time of peace between the Korean and Vietnam wars. He received a master’s degree in English in 1959 from Southern Illinois University and continued his graduate studies at Washington University in St. Louis. He began teaching high school at Glenbrook North High School in Northbrook, Ill., in 1961 and three years later moved to New York City to teach English at Hunter College High School in New York City.

Peck credits his years in the classroom as the spark for many of his book ideas. “It was junior-high students, the puberty people, who taught me how to be a writer,” he wrote in his autobiography. “They taught me... that people don’t read fiction to be educated. They read fiction to be reassured, to be given hope.”

In May 1971, Peck says he turned in his gradebook and pension plan from his teaching job and went home to write a novel. That first work became Don’t Look and It Won’t Hurt (Holt, 1972), which addresses teenage pregnancy and was adapted as the 1992 film Gas Food Lodging. He hand-delivered the manuscript to George Nicholson, then editor-in-chief of juvenile books at Holt, Rinehart and Winston. Just one day later, Peck says that Nicholson called him and said, “You can start your second novel.”

Peck maintained a connection to young readers by visiting schools and libraries and giving classroom writing workshops (something he continued throughout his career). In his autobiography, he says that in the 1970s some junior-high readers advised him to include supernatural elements in his stories. He took the idea to heart and added the character of a “girl-ghost, glamorous rather than ghastly,” to one of his works in progress. Then, in order to balance out “the weird,” he added a human girl named Blossom Culp. The resulting middle-grade novel The Ghost Belonged to Me (Viking, 1975) quickly became a success and was adapted into the film Child of Glass by Walt Disney Productions. A Blossom Culp series grew to include three other novels as well.

According to his sister, Cheryl Peck of Springfield, Ill., Peck spent time earlier in his life traveling the world as a port lecturer on cruise ships, an experience that inspired his novel, ​Those Summer Girls I Never Met (Delacorte, 1988). He also taught creative writing on a celebrity cruise ship that sailed between New York City and England.

Peck’s young adult novels received wide critical acclaim for addressing such serious topics as rape, suicide, and the death of a loved one. He described his 1998 book A Long Way from Chicago (Dial) as a series of short stories that he shaped into a novel. That book introduces the character of Grandma Dowdel and was about the rhythms of the country town where Peck’s own grandmother lived when he was born. The novel was a finalist for the National Book Award and was named a 1999 Newbery Honor. A follow-up, A Year Down Yonder (Dial, 2000), also featured Grandma Dowdel and took place in Illinois where Peck’s father was born. A Year Down Yonder won the 2001 Newbery Medal. Peck’s most recent novel, The Best Man (Dial, 2016), is described by his publisher as “a story of small-town life, gay marriage, and everyday heroes.”

Peck went on to write more than 30 novels for young adults as well as several books for adults, including Amanda/Miranda (Viking, 1980), a tale of intrigue and mistaken identity about two women who look alike, inspired by the sinking of the Titanic.

Among Peck’s many other honors, he was invited in the early 2000s to accompany then-Librarian of Congress James Billington to Moscow for the first conference on children’s literature to be held there. And in 2002, he received the National Humanities Medal—the first to be awarded to a children’s author—from President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush. Mrs. Bush additionally invited Peck to be an author-in-residence at three National Book Festivals in Washington, D.C.

Lauri Hornik, president and publisher of Dial Books for Young Readers was Peck’s editor for nearly 20 years. She shared a favorite anecdote about Peck’s latest work, The Best Man. “When we were in the middle of the editing and he realized he didn’t have the right ending for the book, he came into my office and had these three pages that he wanted to read out loud to me, and they were what became the final short, perfect chapter of the novel,” she said. “He read it to me and I started crying and rushed over to hug him and said yes, yes, and his response was, ‘That’s the best editorial feedback I’ve ever gotten.’

“That was sort of the way our author-editor relationship had developed,” Hornik continued. “More and more it was at the table with our pencils and Richard reading things aloud to me and it was just a very cozy process that I did not have with a lot of authors. It was a luxury that he lived in New York City so I got to spend so much time with him.”

“Another thing that everyone will remark about Richard is that he was a genius listener,” Hornik said. “I saw in an interview that he did some years ago that he called himself a born eavesdropper. He was one of these people that if you had lunch with him—it didn’t matter who you were—whoever had lunch with him would come back from the lunch and say, ‘I just told him my entire life story.’ He was so delightfully interested in other people, he made it very comfortable for people to tell him things that they wouldn’t tell other people. That was a gift of his that he used very well in his fiction writing.”

“He’ll always be Mr. Peck to me,” said literary agent Nancy Gallt, who was one of Peck’s students at Hunter College High School. “He was very inspiring, and funny,” she recalled of her teacher. “He was a very witty man, and sharp. I remember one time he wanted us to compare two poems, asking us who we would rather be, Celia or Rosamund, and I muttered something about ‘I’d rather be named It.’ And he said, ‘Miss Gallt, in your case, that would be entirely appropriate.’ ”

“He also taught short-story writing,” said Gallt, “and I actually wrote a story that was published. We won second place in Ingenue magazine. He also got a prize and so for the rest of the time he was at Hunter I felt kind of like his pet because he always introduced me saying, ‘She’s quite a writer.’ Of course that was the last time I wrote anything.”

“He left the school when I was there,” Gallt continued, “and I didn’t run into him until I had started working at Viking in 1979, when they were publishing his first adult book, Amanda/Miranda. And there he was. I have never called him anything but Mr. Peck.”

According to Peck's sister, a memorial service will be held at the New York Society Library on a date to be announced, and a private military burial will take place at Graceland Cemetery in Decatur, Ill.
l***@yahoo.com
2018-05-25 21:18:28 UTC
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https://www.kirkusreviews.com/author/richard-peck/
(Kirkus reviews)

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/22414.Richard_Peck
(reader reviews)


https://groups.google.com/forum/#!msg/rec.arts.books.childrens/PMssDecbm74/0XFIFHUmsZoJ;context-place=searchin/rec.arts.books.childrens/richard$20peck$2080th%7Csort:date
(birthday post from 2014, with booklist & videos)

Excerpts:

"Are You in the House Alone?" won the Edgar Allen Poe Award.

He has six entries in the "Something About the Author" encyclopedia series. (With that in mind, it's amazing that I couldn't find any articles about today!)

In the first entry, in vol. 18 of S.A.T.A., he says:
"...fortunately I never had one of those English teachers who say 'Write what you know!' 'Write from your heart!' My teachers stressed vocabulary, the card catalogue, and the declarative sentence."

And if you can, look up vol. 55. It includes a great deal from his 1986 article: "The Genteel Unshelving of a Book," in which he describes meeting with his first censor (regarding his 1978 novel "Father Figure") - a mother who turned out to be alarmingly disarming because she was didn't fit any of the usual stereotypes; she was smart, very literate, and she didn't cloak her arguments in politics or religion. On top of that, she claimed that all of her daughter's clean-cut friends from families untouched by divorce were essentially selected by her, from her church, and Peck said, in effect: "If any other parent had said that, I would have been very skeptical."

Link:

http://irls520paternalcensorship.pbworks.com/f/The+Genteel+Unshelving+by+Richard+Peck.pdf

And (also in SATA) he talked a great deal about the lack of YA novels that deal with male emotions, how they communicate, and how the mostly female librarians aren't helping much.

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0669708/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1
(filmography - to my surprise, this includes "Gas, Food and Lodging")


Lenona.
l***@yahoo.com
2018-05-25 21:28:41 UTC
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Post by l***@yahoo.com
"Are You in the House Alone?" won the Edgar Allen Poe Award.
I meant "Allan," of course.
Post by l***@yahoo.com
He has six entries in the "Something About the Author" encyclopedia series. (With that in mind, it's amazing that I couldn't find any articles about today!)
(I was referring to his birthday.)
l***@yahoo.com
2018-05-31 00:23:04 UTC
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https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/27/obituaries/richard-peck-acclaimed-author-for-young-readers-dies-at-84.html

Excerpt:

...“I’m a writer because I never had a teacher who said, ‘Write what you know,’” Mr. Peck said in a speech to the Library of Congress Book Festival in 2013. “If I’d been limited to writing what I know, I would have produced one unpublishable haiku.”

He added: “Beatrix Potter was never a rabbit. J. K. Rowling did not attend Hogwarts School.”

Yet Mr. Peck’s final novel, “The Best Man” (2016), echoed his personal life more than most of his books.

A coming-of age story about a young boy, it deals in part with the same-sex marriage of his uncle and his teacher.

Around the time of its publication, the intensely private Mr. Peck publicly came out as gay. Until then, his sister said, “If you wanted to know Richard Peck, you could find him in his novels and in his messages about growing up responsibly.”

In an interview to promote that book with Roger Sutton, editor in chief of The Horn Book, a journal of children’s and young adult books, Mr. Peck reflected on the advances that gay rights had made in his lifetime.

“Now, in the 21st century, something wonderful has happened,” he said. “It’s also a history lesson, and that is: History doesn’t move at a steady pace. One day you wake up and the world is in a different place.”...

(snip)

https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b&ei=6j8PW4zxNuuc5wK-m7iADA&q=richard+peck+84+&oq=richard+peck+84+&gs_l=psy-ab.3...2323.3928.0.4175.4.4.0.0.0.0.124.400.3j1.4.0....0...1.1.64.psy-ab..0.1.95...0j0i67k1.0.iogHJ4YJ4oA
(more obits)


Lenona.
RH Draney
2018-05-31 04:32:05 UTC
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Post by l***@yahoo.com
...“I’m a writer because I never had a teacher who said, ‘Write what you know,’” Mr. Peck said in a speech to the Library of Congress Book Festival in 2013. “If I’d been limited to writing what I know, I would have produced one unpublishable haiku.”
He added: “Beatrix Potter was never a rabbit. J. K. Rowling did not attend Hogwarts School.”
When Steve Allen was offered this advice, he mused that Jim Bishop must
be in trouble....r
l***@yahoo.com
2018-05-31 17:24:16 UTC
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Post by RH Draney
Post by l***@yahoo.com
...“I’m a writer because I never had a teacher who said, ‘Write what you know,’” Mr. Peck said in a speech to the Library of Congress Book Festival in 2013. “If I’d been limited to writing what I know, I would have produced one unpublishable haiku.”
He added: “Beatrix Potter was never a rabbit. J. K. Rowling did not attend Hogwarts School.”
When Steve Allen was offered this advice, he mused that Jim Bishop must
be in trouble....r
I admit I had to look up Bishop. I suppose I SHOULD be familiar with him, given he wrote about three very popular presidents...and I now realize I OWN one of his books! Sheesh. (Yes, I read some of it - it's just been a while.)

Anyway, here's what it says in Wikipedia:

"Born in Jersey City, New Jersey, he dropped out of school after eighth grade. In 1923, he studied typing, shorthand, and bookkeeping, and in 1929 began work as a copy boy at the New York Daily News."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Bishop


Lenona.

David Carson
2018-05-28 01:51:44 UTC
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With a name like that, it's a wonder he didn't wind up on Death Row.
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