Author Holly Black brings vampires to campus

New York Times bestselling author Holly Black was on campus Friday, September 6, for the release of her new novel, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. Black, who is known best for her work on The Spiderwick Chronicles, spent all morning at Dana Hall, speaking to English classes and signing copies of her new book.

Black began each presentation by handing out vampire candy and then explaining her ten rules for creating a career in the arts. Her advice was honest although sometimes blunt, like #2: “It’s okay to be bad at stuff,” reading aloud from some of the “terrible fiction” she wrote as a teenager in order to encourage her audience and prove to them that one “often isn’t good at something at the beginning, and that’s okay.” She also encouraged her audiences to “Love what you love. Your obsessions are important (even if they seem ridiculous).” As she acknowledged about her own vampire obsession, “If I were at a safe distance, would I take a photo of a vampire biting a person and upload it to Instagram? I would. Probably.”

Sophomore Lorenza Ochoa described Black as “unique,” “crazy,” and “cool” and said that she especially liked the author’s blue hair. Ochoa, as well as others in the audience, appreciated how “real” she was in her presentation and how honest all of her advice seemed. Ochoa was most inspired by what Black stood for in the bigger picture, having the confidence to fashion her blue hair and write about what she likes whether or not everyone necessarily agrees with her.

Black acknowledged that the most controversial of her ten rules is the last: “It’s okay not to believe in yourself,” meaning that sometimes you have to “do the work” before you can believe in your own abilities. Ochoa found this reassuring to hear since it is not a piece of advice that one often encounters.

Black is very passionate about who she is and what she stands for and passing her knowledge and experiences on to others. She said, “What I love most [about speaking to schools] is the opportunity to talk to young writers … to give them an honest idea of what it’s like to be a writer in the real world.”

Holly Black urged the girls at Dana Hall to embrace their differences and take risks, leaving her mark on the school.

Photo: Visiting author Holly Black shows off her new book during a book signing in Common Ground. Photo credit: Isabella Daou.

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