Have you ever wanted to receive writing advice from your favorite authors? Now you can, through the Authors Out Loud! series with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at the University of North Texas. Get to know more about award-winning authors’ practices, writing advice, struggles and successes through the series hosted by Jean Greenlaw, PhD and Susan Supak.

Dr. Greenlaw is an expert in children’s literature whose “Book Talk” column is published by the Denton Record-Chronicle. She is a Regents Professor Emeritus from the UNT College of Education and has been a book reviewer for decades.

Susan Supak is president of the OLLI at UNT Advisory Council, a member of the Curriculum Committee, and host of the OLLI at UNT Podcast, where she conducts insightful interviews with faculty, alumni, and members.

Together, Supak and Dr. Greenlaw developed the unique Authors Out Loud! series during which they host a discussion with a renowned author. These conversations explore authors’ books and the inspirations for their characters, themes and stories. The authors also discuss the craft of writing itself as well as the challenges and victories of completing a work.

“A lot of people have a yen to write, and they don’t realize how hard it is,” Dr. Greenlaw said. “...So, they get an insight into the field of writing and if they seriously want to be writers, they really get lessons in how to become a writer.”

Dr. Greenlaw and Supak have interviewed many famous authors including:
  • Lois Lowry, author of The Giver
  • Brad Meltzer, author of The Lightning Rod
  • Kathryn Lasky, author of the Guardians of Ga’Hoole series
  • Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, which was adapted into an award-winning Broadway musical.

Supak said because Dr. Greenlaw often has a relationship with the authors through her experience as a book reviewer, the interviews are more personal than traditional interviews, often delving into the authors’ thoughts and philosophies.

“We were so pleased when we interviewed Gregory Maguire. Our interview basically turned into a discussion of good and evil,” Supak said. “...It's so fascinating. We both truly appreciate that our discussions can go into such intriguing and interesting directions.”

The Authors Out Loud! series is unique in that it offers insight into the practices and firsthand experiences of award-winning writers at no cost to the viewer.

Dr. Greenlaw said individuals can essentially get a master class in writing by listening to these conversations.

“Nothing could be more valuable than listening to a best-selling author talking about what they do that helps them along,” Dr. Greenlaw said. “If I was a journalism student, I would jump on it—

readers too. Getting insight into some of your favorite authors is so cool.”

In addition to getting a peek behind the curtain of your favorite author’s processes, the Authors Out Loud! series is a powerful teaching tool.

“Teachers and librarians out there, please use this with your students in the classroom as a teaching tool,” Dr. Greenlaw said. “...I don't care if you're in middle school, high school, elementary school, college—use it. We don't want anything from it except that you use it.”

Learn more about OLLI at UNT

For many individuals, the passion for learning doesn’t go away after the end of traditional school, but finding ways to continue learning in a low stress environment can be challenging. OLLI offers non-credit courses and educational events for adults 50-plus to nurture love of learning and foster curiosity.

At OLLI, there are no tests, no grades and no limits. Individuals can easily pursue their passions, connect with peers and take courses developed by current and retired faculty, area professionals, and passionate subject matter experts.

Visit the Authors Out Loud! to see the latest interviews with best-selling authors. Register for courses and learn more about Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UNT at olli.unt.edu. OLLI is part of a national network of Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes that receives support from The Bernard Osher Foundation.

The above story was produced by Senior Multi Platform Journalist Summer El-Shahawy with Community Impact's Storytelling team with information solely provided by the local business as part of its "sponsored content" purchase through our advertising team.