Monday, October 12, 2009

The National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance

The Exquisite Corpse Adventure

TAKE 5 Interview: Katherine Paterson

1. Katherine Paterson—This is so exciting! You are writing the second episode of the Exquisite Corpse Adventure! What was your honest reaction when you read Jon Scieszka first episode? Did you think, oh gosh—I’ve got to follow this! Was it a bit scary? Or just loads of fun?

My first reaction was that that crazy Jon Scieszka had gone even crazier, throwing everything into the Corpse including meatballs. How could anyone follow that? Then I remembered what Mary Brigid Barrett, our fearless leader and the originator of the idea had told us all: “It’s a game! Have fun!” So I decided to do just that.

2. How did you decide, amongst all the characters and plot possibilities that Jon presented in the first episode, what you wanted to write about? Was it an impulsive reaction, or did you give it some thought? Did one little detail speak to you or did you react to the total hilarity of Jon’s first episode?

Well, obviously, my first and most important job was to keep Nancy and Joe from blowing up in 47 seconds. The rest was duck soup.

James Ransome’s evocative illustration for The Exquisite Corpse Adventure Episode Two: The Lost Clue written by Katherine Paterson

To read Katherine’s zany new episode go to:

3. Do you have childhood memories of playing progressive story games like The Exquisite Corpse, or Cliffhangers as some kids call it? Or did you ever play imaginary play games inspired by your favorite stories and books?

I remember we used to play gossip where as you probably know, the participants sit in a circle and the first person whispers something and the next repeats what she has heard and so on around until the last person says out loud what she heard which usually bears very little resemblance to the original message. Actually, the further away the better and funnier.

4. You are an incredibly busy author, why did you decide to take the time to contribute to The Exquisite Corpse Adventure?

Since I’m a vice-president of NCBLA, I nearly always take part in whatever it is we plan to do. For example, I contributed to Our White House : Looking In, Looking Out which took a good bit of research and was a pretty serious business. The Exquisite Corpse was neither serious nor did it require much in the way of research; so actually, it was just a lot of fun.

Katherine Paterson and Mary Brigid Barrett, contributors to the NCBLA award-winning publication Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out, giving Alexander McCall Smith, author of the NO. 1 Ladies Detective Agency books, an impromptu tour of the White House in 2008 at the National Book Festival’s Author Breakfast.

5. What are you working on now? Do you have a new book out this year that you would like to share with us?

I do have a serious novel out this fall entitled, The Day of the Pelican, and my husband John and I are working on an adaptation of a wonderful early 20th century story by Eden Philpott that we hope will be out in 2011. I’ve got something else going that I can’t talk about yet.

Ask for Katherine’s powerful new novel The Day at the Pelican at your local library or bookstore.

Remember, every two weeks a new amazing and hilarious Exquisite Corpse Adventures episode will be revealed at:

or read it in an interactive book form at:

And be sure to check out the NCBLA’s Exquisite Corpse Adventure Educational Resource Center at:

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