Hannah Rodgers '96 has been awarded the first Children's Writer-in-Residence fellowship by the Associates of the Boston Public Library. Rodgers is using the fellowship, which ends in June, to write a novel tentatively titled Gideon and Portia, about a young girl who leaves a work camp for teenagers to follow a traveling carnival. While traveling across the U.S. with the carnival, Portia and her mysterious friend Gideon meet and befriend other performers. Acquaintance with such marginalized and talented people prompts Portia to question the manner in which one society rejects those that don't conform, only to cause them to be accepted by others in similar circumstances.
Gideon and Portia was chosen unanimously in a blind evaluation process by a panel of six judges, including an award-winning author, a children's book editor, the owner of a children's bookstore and a literary historian. The judges praised Rodgers's proposal for its originality, humor and distinctive narrative voice.
Rodger's residency in the library was formally inaugurated at a reception on Sept. 14, 2004. Created to provide an emerging children's writer with the financial support and privacy needed to complete one literary work within a nine-month period, the Associates' fellowship provides the recipient with a “room of his/her own” in the central Library, plus a $20,000 stipend. Associates Chairman Vivian Spiro believes the Associates' stipend is the largest of its kind offered in the U.S.
Rodgers graduated magna cum laude from William Smith in 1996. While at William Smith she majored in English, was a member of Thel literary magazine, and studied abroad in Bath, England. She also received the Chester Hampton Prize, given for excellence in English.