Lois Leveen


April 5, 2013

Whose Civil War?  Black History, Women’s History, and the Becker Collection Drawings

Yes, they had photography during the Civil War.

But it wasn't very advanced. As in, it required subjects to hold very, very, very still.

Which is why most Civil War photographs were of dead soldiers.

For "live action," drawing was a better medium. And Reed College is currently displaying some amazing examples from the Becker Collection. I was delighted to give a talk there on Wednesday. Especially because I taught at Reed from 2000-2003.

It was like hearing a Battle Hymn of the Republic/Welcome Back Kotter Theme Song medley, playing along with my PPT.

Becker Collection and Secrets of Mary Bowser

More pix are on www.facebook.com/LoisLeveen

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March 31, 2013

Writer’s Voice Features Mary Bowser

Black History Month and Women's History Month have been busy times for me and Mary Bowser. It was great to finish them off with this wonderful interview with Francesca Rheannon on Writer's Voice, which is broadcast on radio stations throughout the US and Canada.

You can catch the podcast here: http://www.writersvoice.net/2013/03/lois-leveen-eve-laplante/

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March 21, 2013

As If Your Life Depended On It

Why do people read?

Why do people write?

Why do people haul themselves across the country to sit in windowless hotel rooms at a professional conference?

Here's what I told the members of Sigma Tau Delta at the kickoff to their annual conference, March 20, 2013. I hope it answers all 3 questions. Even if the video quality is less than ideal.
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March 8, 2013

Black Past Blast

Blackpast.org is an amazing resource for researching African American history, attracting 250,000 visitors each month. So I'm honored that they've just published "Telling Secrets, Spying Freedom: A Novel Account of Mary Bowser's Civil War Espionage."

The article details a little more about Bowser's life and how I can to write the book, and what I've learned since it was published.
You can read the article here

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March 5, 2013

Teaching Secrets

It's not much of a secret of Lois Leveen that I love teaching. In fact, I wrote The Secrets of Mary Bowser to share what I was teaching at UCLA and Reed College with a broader audience.

So it's THRILLING to know that teachers are starting to use the book in their high school and college courses. The teaching guide for the novel (download it for free here) includes over 100 assignments for using Mary's story to teach school success skills and current events, as well as teaching content from history, literature, and many other humanities, social science, math and hard science, and arts and performing arts subjects. Why? Because Mary's story of giving up her family to seize an education, and of using that education to change the course of history, is a powerful hook for high school and college students today. As an all-school read, The Secrets of Mary Bowser can get teachers and students talking about some of the most important topics in education.

This very blurry picture is from my fantastic team at HarperCollins, who were just at the First Year Experience conference, sharing The Secrets of Mary Bowser with faculty and program directors. FYE programs help students transition into college successfully. In a previous life, I worked on several projects to increase high school and college graduation rates, and I'm thrilled that The Secrets of Mary Bowser will be part of programs to increase student's engagement with and success in school.

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