Hannah Barnaby ’96, whose first book “Wonder Show” published in April of 2012, was named one of four finalists for the Morris Award.
The William C. Morris YA Debut Award, first presented in 2009, honors a debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens and celebrating impressive new voices in young adult literature. The award is presented by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). The finalists and the winner recently were honored by YALSA at a luncheon at the Washington State Convention Center.
The inspiration for “Wonder Show” came to Barnaby in a dream.
“In this dream I saw a girl riding a bicycle across a prairie, and had the sense that she was a) from a long time ago, and b) running away from someone,” Barnaby wrote on her webpage. “From there, the book evolved as I wrote it. I added ideas from various sources as I went. It was kind of like wrapping new rubber bands around an existing ball of rubber bands.”
The final product evolved into a plot featuring a girl on the run in 1939. Main character Portia Remini, a 13-year-old who is fed up with life at home, decides it is time to run away after having dealt with many issues on the homestead. Remini later meets up with a traveling sideshow and collides with a world she has never known, a world that few people have seen up close, changing her life forever.
Barnaby, who spent seven years perfecting the novel, seems to have a fool-proof formula in place to keep the books coming.
“I figure if I can get the second novel done in half the time it took me to write the first, and then the third done in half that time, pretty soon I’ll be writing a book a week,” Barnaby jokes.
Barnaby earned a B.A. in English magna cum laude from William Smith College. As a student she wrote for Thel and participated in the study abroad program in Bath, England.
For more information on Hannah Barnaby or “Wonder Show,” visit her website