Our Allen Smith Visiting Scholar provides a glimpse into the writer's life
In March 2017, SLIS welcomes author Jack Gantos as our Allen Smith Visiting Scholar. Gantos is the acclaimed author of young adult and middle grade novels, and picturebooks. His novel, Dead End in Norvelt, was the 2012 Newbery Award Winner, and the Scott O’Dell Award Winner for Best Historic Fiction. His memoir, Hole in My Life, won the Michael L. Printz and Robert F. Sibert honors. His other award-winning novels include Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key, a National Book Award Finalist; and Joey Pigza Loses Control, a Newbery Honor book. A vibrant and engaging speaker, Gantos has taught courses in children’s book writing and children’s literature. He is also a regular patron and supporter of the Boston Athenæum.
“We are excited to welcome Jack Gantos as our visiting scholar,” says Dean Eileen Abels. “He has widespread appeal and a unique vision.”
During his time as Visiting Scholar, Gantos will offer lectures for SLIS students and one-to-one consultations with students in the Writing for Children MFA program. There will also be a public lecture on March 21, followed by a reception and book signing.
“Jack Gantos has been a good friend of the Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons,” says Cathryn Mercier, Professor, Director of the Children’s Literature Program, and Director of the Center for the Study of Children’s Literature. “He's one of the first people I ask to speak at our summer institutes and he was one of the first writers to whom I turned when we designed the MFA program at Simmons. A witty speaker with an outrageous sense of humor, Jack is popular with child readers and may be even more popular with the teachers and librarians who embrace his work. His insights about the writing process inspire writers and readers alike.”
The Allen Smith Visiting Scholars Program was established in 2008, following the death of Dr. Allen Smith, a beloved faculty member at SLIS for 31 years. Smith taught primarily in the areas of reference, humanities, and oral history. He was also an advocate for the development of the Children’s Literature (MA)/Library Services to Children (MS) dual degree. Dr. Smith earned a Master of Library Science degree at the University of Denver and a Ph.D. at the Institute of Dialect and Folklife Studies at the University of Leeds, England. This fund has brought distinguished scholars to Simmons SLIS annually, most recently including Dr. Wayne Wiegand and Dr. Paul Sturges. In the selection process, preference is given to scholars whose areas of expertise include oral history, reference, or the humanities.