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.

Things I Can Do When I Visit Your School

I’m planning my 2021-2022 schedule and would love to put your school on my Author Visit list! Whether you’re able to host a live visit or will still be connecting to authors and others via Zoom, I offer a variety of experiences for young readers and writers. Let me know if you have any questions! I’d love to hear from you–and I’d love to visit your school!

I can talk about one of my books! Maybe two!

Why just one or two? Because my book talks are a lot more fun when the students have read at least one of my books, and given that I have more than twenty books in print, it’s easier for everyone if we pick one or two specific titles to discuss. We could also discuss one of my series–Phineas L. MacGuire is a great four-book series for grades 3-5, and the Sam the Man series (five books) is big fun for grades 1-3!

I can talk about the writing process!

I love talking to kids about writing. I’ve even written a book for kids about writing called How to Build a Story, or The Big What-If. One of my most popular presentations is “Five Myths about Being a Writer.” Teachers love it because I make a big deal about revising. Kids enjoy it in spite of the fact that I make a big deal about revising!

I can talk about how I became an author!

I’m a pretty regular person who’s lived a pretty regular life. So how did I end up making up stuff for a living? In this presentation, I discuss the books I loved as a kid, the many other careers I considered (cartoonist! radio dee jay!), and the experience of my first book, Dovey Coe, being accepted by a big-time publisher. (I also mention the importance of revising if you want to be an author one day!)

The Nuts and Bolts of a Visit

I do both live visits and Zoom/Skype visits–and sometimes I do a combination of both.

I schedule in-person visits as either half-day visits or whole-day visits.

A half-day visit might consist of one fifty-minute presentation with several grades and then a discussion with a smaller group of students–whether that’s a group of students selected because of their interest in writing, a book discussion lunch group, or even a meeting with teachers during lunch or after school. Or it can consist of two fifty-minute presentations to large or small groups. I’m flexible!

A whole-day visit might consist of two large group presentations, visits with a smaller group, lunch with students, or any number of possibilities.

I’m happy to discuss what sort of schedule of events would best serve your students.

I schedule online visits as one-hour visits, half-day visits, or whole day visits.

An online visit can entail the same schedule as in-person visit, but online technology also

allows for shorter, more focused visits, and allows schools with smaller budgets to afford author appearances. My online presentations include fun Power-Point slideshows and time for student Q&A.

I work in schools as a writer-in-residence.

As a writer-in-residence, I can provide teachers with a series of pre-recorded talks and exercises as well as live Zoom chats and at least one in-person visit, or any combination thereof. I’ve done writing residencies that have lasted several weeks and some that have lasted several months. My writing residencies are focused on the writing process and are geared to helping students become stronger writers. I do both poetry and fiction residencies, and work closely with teachers to come up with a program that best serves their schedules and their students’ needs.


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!


    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; The Class; and the non-fiction guide for young writers titled How to Build a Story… Or, The Big What If.

    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.