Author Visits and Workshops

Best-selling children’s author Frances O’Roark Dowell is an experienced classroom presenter with a background in literature and education. She has appeared in the N.C. Arts Council Touring Artists Directory and has provided author visits to schools and libraries across the country. For several years, she published an arts magazine for young people that focused on creative writing and developing a lifelong love of literature. She holds a degree in English, with a minor in Education, from Wake Forest University and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from U-Mass Amherst. Frances has also taught writing at the college level. Frances enjoys working with students and meeting book lovers of all ages  and schedules a limited number of author visits to schools and libraries each year. Due to family obligations, she prefers visiting schools within driving distance of her home in central North Carolina, but will consider traveling further if two or more school visits in one area can be scheduled.

Author Visits via Skype

Frances was an early advocate of Internet technology and began visiting schools and libraries via live video feed from the studios of the N.C. School of Math and Science almost a decade ago. Now, computers make such interaction easy and Frances is happy to visit with students via Skype, delivering either one of her standard presentations or working with teachers and librarians to develop a customized program. For instance, she might check in several times with a class as it studies one of her books, or visit with a creative writing club over the course of a semester with students emailing their work for comment. For more information about setting up and using Skype, please visit

Frances Dowell on School Library Author Visits

I’m happy to work with teachers and librarians to tailor my presentation to their students’ needs. In fact, I appreciate as much input as possible before a visit so that I know exactly what students and faculty are hoping to get out of my visit. As a starting point, I have a number of standardized presentations that I’ve done in schools across the state and region.

Skype Visits
I’m happy to speak to students via Skype. A Skype session can be a typical presentation (as listed below), but it can also be used for innovative programming — for instance, I could visit with a group of students over a period of a week or even longer (fee to be determined), or work with a creative writing class whose stories have been sent to me a week before the session. I’m open to suggestions for using Skype in ways that best suit your school’s needs.

The Q&A Session
Sometimes what students want to do most is to ask questions about my books and writing. I enjoy these sessions because they ensure the kids get to talk about their interests, and it allows me to connect more closely with them. These sessions are most successful when students have read at least one of my books and have been encouraged to write down two or three questions beforehand.

My Life as a Writer
One of the questions I’m most commonly asked is did I always know I wanted to be a writer? In this presentation, I discuss how I became a writer, from my early days as a second grade poet to the publication of my first book, Dovey Coe and beyond.

The Top Five Myths About Being a Writer
In this presentation, I try to make the connection between the writing I do and the writing students do. For instance, students are often surprised to hear that in spite of the fact I’ve published more than a dozen books, every book I write takes at least three drafts (and usually more!) to get it right. They’re also surprised that the best part about being a writer isn’t getting a book published — it’s writing! I bust the myth that people are either good writers or bad writers (they’re either writers who practice or writers who don’t). The focus on this presentation is to encourage students to think of themselves as writers now — they don’t have to wait until they’re grown up or have college degrees.

A Specific Book Presentation
If your class has read Dovey Coe, for example, I can discuss how (and why and where) I wrote it and then answer questions. This is an effective presentation for students who have studied one of my books in depth and have done reports or projects on it.

Contact Frances about an Author Visit to Your School or Library

If you would like to contact Frances about school programs, library visits, store appearances or other professional engagements, please use this form to contact her. The form generates an email to Frances immediately so she’ll be able to get back to you as soon as possible. Thanks for your interest!

    About Frances

    Frances O’Roark Dowell is the bestselling and critically acclaimed author of Dovey Coe, which won the Edgar Award and the William Allen White Award; Where I’d Like to Be; The Secret Language of Girls and its sequels The Kind of Friends We Used to Be and The Sound of Your Voice, Only Really Far Away; Chicken Boy; Shooting the Moon, which was awarded the Christopher Medal; the Phineas L. MacGuire series; Falling In; the critically acclaimed The Second Life of Abigail Walker; Anybody Shining; Ten Miles Past Normal; Trouble the Water; the Sam the Man series; and The Class, which will be published in October 2019.

    While Frances is best known for her “beloved books for tweens and teenagers” (New York Times Sunday Book Review), since 2010 she has hosted a popular podcast about her life as a quilter, and in 2016 established a small publishing company to bring out a line of stories and novels especially for quiltmakers and quilt lovers. The quilting novel Birds in the Air was followed by the short story collection Margaret Goes Modern in 2017. Stars Upon Stars — a sequel to Birds in the Air — is in the works. She lives in Durham, North Carolina, with her husband, two sons, and a dog named Travis.