Amanda Cockrell

Selected Works

Young Adult Novel
Saints and soldiers and the Untied Church of Dog
Novels
The Hollywood blacklist and a delayed funeral
Historical novel of a Roman legion in Britain
The Horse Catchers trilogy
Mythological novel of the coming of the horse to the American Southwest
Volume 2 in The Horse Catchers trilogy
Volume 3 in The Horse Catchers trilogy
The Deer Dancers trilogy
Mythological novel of the beginning of art
Volume 2 in The Deer Dancers trilogy
Volume 3 in The Deer Dancers trilogy
Children's books
By my mother, Marian Cockrell, the story of an enchanted castle on the edge of Fairyland

What We Keep

Turning the Sun Around

December 30, 2013

Tags: Hollins, children's books

Among the pleasures of the holidays, we found candy and poems on our doors in the Hollins English department, just before the students left, offerings from someone unknown who nevertheless knows that a poem and a chocolate bar are just what you need to grade those last three exams.

We are making every effort to turn the sun around, lighting up trees and houses, but as soon as the lights come down I will start dreaming of spring, and especially of summer, when the grad students come back. Summerís pleasures are many and sometimes surprising. Last summer the video for the annual student conference featured a cameo by Neil Gaiman, which an enterprising crew of grad students talked him into by lurking at the end of the book signing line at the Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts. That conference rolls around again in March and we are already packing our bags for this yearís event as there are always a score or so of Hollins students and faculty in attendance.

Come summer we will have our writer in residence, the wonderful National Book Award-winning Han Nolan (and in 2015 Terri Windling!) who will read student manuscripts and give individual sage advice. Accompanied by our scholar in residence, the learned but compassionate Lisa Rowe Fraustino, who will read studentsí scholarly work and give advice on turning that term paper into a conference submission or that conference paper into a journal submission. And for the artists and art-lovers, Judy Schachner, creator of Skippyjon Jones, will lecture and give a workshop.

Outside of academics, we look forward to the wild things: families of rabbits romping on Front Quad and the ducks who sometimes nest outside the faculty lounge in Turner. The great blue heron who fishes in the creek. And if you hang about on the bridge between campus and the student apartments you might see Ratty in the water. So far we havenít spotted a boat or a picnic basket, but we are sure they are there.

Stealing from Margaret Wise Brown

December 18, 2013

Tags: Christmas book project

Sometimes I feel guilty because I never post anything useful on this blog, while others are sharing recipes that will make you love brussels sprouts (they never do, alas), new uses for odd items, and occasionally unnerving crafts. So today I have one. I made these books for my children when they were young, blatantly ripping off Goodnight Moon (Margaret Wise Brown went to Hollins, Iím sure she wouldnít mind) for a goodnight book based on their own rooms. Actually, she probably would mind, but this is legit if you just make it for your kid and donít try to publish it. (Trust me, donít do that.)

All it takes is a blank book, some photos of kid and room, and a practical grasp of rhythm and rhyme. Hand lettered text alternates with pictures.

Hereís a sample of the one I made for my son. The complete book runs down the right hand column.

Thanksgiving meditation

December 9, 2013

Tags: Thanksgiving, writing

Yearly we are told to list what we are thankful for. Some years itís easier than others. But I find that I am thankful at this season for odd things. That we are not promised a world without sorrow, for one. There are empty spots in the line-up of the beloved, and it makes it easier when Sorrow builds her nest, to remember that no one ever said you were immune and exempt.
Thankful for the power of story, the gift given to artists Ė to take sorrow and make art.
Thankful for the twinge in the right knee because, not to sound too much like Pollyanna, that means the damn thingís still there.
Thankful for the freight train snore of the dog at the foot of the bed; in Edith Whartonís words, ďlittle heartbeat at my feet.Ē Thankful that someone has finally clipped his toenails.
... for people who used to drive me crazy who I can now make use of in fiction.
...for the grouchy old coot ahead of me in Kroger who insulted the checkers, and made me look like a saint.
...for ice storms that keep us from going places that we didnít want to go.
...and that so far the cat hasnít climbed the Christmas tree.
Not a bad list.































Chocolate novios for Day of the Dead


Noon Whistle at the Lizard Works

Back yard bottle tree



The last hurrah


Delia Sherman and Ruth Sanderson, summer Children's Lit faculty

Children's Lit faculty Brian Attebery and Ellen Kushner at the end-of-term party