Britta Jensen’s debut novel Eloia Born was long-listed for the 2016 Exeter Novel Prize and reviewers are calling the book “both a dystopian narrative and a quest story; consider it a spiritual successor to Lois Lowry’s The Giver and M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village.” The sequel, Hirana’s War releases October 2020. Many of her stories center around themes of persevering through disability, parental separation and the intersection of various cultures on new worlds. Her stories have been shortlisted for the 2017 Henshaw Press and Fiction Factory prizes and she was published in the following anthologies: Stories for Homes, volume 2 and Sakura Dreams. Britta’s plays have been performed in New York City, Japan and South Korea. For the past sixteen years she has taught creative writing and edited books for both traditional and indie authors. She has received numerous awards, including the General Sharp Award from the US Army, for her innovative teaching of creative writing overseas with the Department of Defense Education Activity. Previously, she taught middle and high school English, Theatre and History for thirteen years in New York City, South Korea and Germany. She holds a BA from Fordham University and an MA from Columbia University. Friends often refer to her as a polyglot—which is a product of living twenty-two years overseas in Japan, South Korea, and Germany before settling in Austin, Texas. She enjoys classroom and library visits as well as mentoring writers and editing books with The Writing Consultancy and Yellowbird Editors. In her spare time she dances Argentine Tango, sings and volunteers with the Relief Society, SCBWI and the Writer’s League of Texas.
I love visiting schools and teaching workshops that inspire young writers to:
- use creative writing in a variety of academic fields
- strengthen literacy skills
- promote confidence in their individual voices and empathy for a variety of narratives.
As a former middle and high school English teacher, I always enjoy getting back to the classroom (or assembly hall) and sharing how my multi-cultural background influenced me to write YA science fiction.
Workshops & Presentations for Teens (Grades 6-12)
- Creating an Original Story World, Setting the Scene-In this workshop I?ll teach your students techniques to create the beginnings of an original story with a fully dimensional setting that is rooted in character objectives, point of view, and narrative layering. Students will understand how setting must be wedded with the inner life of the character. We will discuss our beginning story ideas and next steps students can take in their stories. Examples from Eloia Born will be explored as well as how to go from creating a landscape to a story.
- From Idea to Book: How Do I Become a Published Author?-There are a lot of steps involved in writing a book and the journey becomes even more interesting after one has finished that first draft. In this workshop I?ll explore with students all the steps involved in the publishing process, pass out visual examples of my working process and how it has changed in the decade that I’ve been a professional writer. Students will get a chance to see the development process of the five books I?ve written (and why some are not yet published) and how sequels are handled in YA science fiction.
- The Voice of the Character?How do characters speak and come alive on the page? How do authors create vivid narratives and believable characters? In this interactive workshop, students will create their own character’s voice and explore ways in which this character speaks internally and externally as well as learning from the four main characters in Eloia Born. Students will explore the development process in creating characters of various cultural and disabled backgrounds and the challenge of balancing multiple voices and points of view in a book.
- Disability in Fiction-Eloia Born?s two main characters are visually impaired and still manage to go on a huge adventure, save lives and create a better life for themselves. Students will explore the process of writing from the voice of someone whose experience they haven?t lived. Several exploratory writing prompts will be utilized, as well as reading directly from passages in Eloia Born from the two main narrators? points of view. A discussion will follow with time for Q&A, if desired.
If the above don?t mesh with your school?s learning objectives, I can create a bespoke programme. If your school is interested in ordering books, bulk orders of 20+ books receive a 20% discount off the cover price. The order form is located here: https://forms.gle/NgxCDEUL9bWYTCpM7
The ISBNs for Eloia Born are as follows:
BACKGROUND ON ELOIA BORN
Eloia Born was released January 2019 and was long-listed for the Exeter Novel Prize. The novel centers around two blind teenagers who are in love:?a girl who’s lost her mother and a boy learning about love. On the remote planet of Eloia, Dex and Leanora live in two worlds that intersect: the world of the seeing and the blind. Leanora alone travels between them. But she hides her limited eyesight from the boy she loves. Then tragedy strikes and Leanora and Dex must trek across Eloia in search of answers while struggling to survive in the harsh wilderness. Leanora’s mother, believed to be dead, has left traces of herself in every community they encounter. Each step of their odyssey takes Dex further away from Leanora and closer to someone new. Caught between her allegiance to their shared history and following her heart, Leanora must decide: is survival more important than love? Eloia Born is the first book in a two-book series. Its sequel, Hirana?s War, will release October 1, 2020.
Reviewers have said the following:
“A well-written narrative of disability, dystopia, and exploration, featuring a main character with partial sight. Eloia Born?is both a dystopian narrative and a quest story; consider it a spiritual successor to Lois Lowry’s?The Giver?and M. Night Shyamalan’s?The Village. We learn quickly that the people in Leanora’s community are not blind by chance, but by design…”–Nicole Dieker,?Discover Reedsy
“This story reminds me of all the things I like so much about Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen series. It is a story of growth – not everything ends on a happy note, everyone has something to add to the story, and the journey was hard – but such is life. I believe that many young adult readers will find a bit of themselves in this story and perhaps even a desire to “choose kind.” If we can learn to recognize the gifts in others, realize that there is more to life than what we see, and honestly try to understand one another, this world – and our individual lives – could be very different.”–Yalonda Wilhoite,?Goodreads Reviewer
“Eloia Born is more than just a simple love story. It’s about leaving your comfort zones in search of life’s truths. It plays on your emotions and forces you to accept things that you may not want to. It does this wonderfully…I would highly recommend this novel for anyone looking to immerse themselves into a new, beautifully crafted YA world.”–GeanerikC,?Goodreads Reviewer
(For a 50 mile radius from 78715)
- Single in-person session
- Up to 1 hour presentation
- Book signing
HALF DAY ….$400
- Two in-person sessions (up to one hour each)
- Up to 1 hour each session
- Book signing
- Up to four 1 hour sessions
- Lunch with students & the librarian
- Book signing
*Writer’s League of Texas offers additional funding for schools unable to fund an author visit. Please e-mail my publisher directly at murasakipress at gmail dot com in order to inquire about this program.
Thanks for your interest and I look forward to hopefully visiting your school!