Welcome to the online home of author Frances O’Roark Dowell!

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While Frances O’Roark Dowell is best known for her award-winning novels, she also hosts the popular “Off-Kilter Quilt” podcast, where she talks about her latest quilt projects with friends and fellow quilters around the globe. Her own little corner of the globe is Durham, North Carolina, where she lives with her husband, two sons, and a dog named Travis.

Her books include Dovey Coe, which won the Edgar Award and the William Allen White Children’s Book Award; Where I’d Like to Be; the bestselling Secret Language of Girls trilogy; Chicken Boy; Shooting the Moon, which received a Christopher Award; the Phineas L. MacGuire series; Falling In; The Second Life of Abigail Walker; Anybody Shining; the teen novel, Ten Miles Past Normal; and the new Sam the Man series for younger readers. Her most recent book — her first for adult readers — is the quilting novel Birds in the Air.

Author Visits

Author Visits to Schools and Libraries, Skype Sessions with Frances

Author Visits via Skype with Frances Dowell
Frances often meets with students via Skype (Sometimes Travis, the dog, helps her out).

Best-selling children’s author Frances O’Roark Dowell is an experienced classroom presenter with a background in literature and education. She has appeared in the N.C. Arts Council Touring Artists Directory and has provided author visits to schools and libraries across the country. For several years, she published an arts magazine for young people that focused on creative writing and developing a lifelong love of literature. She holds a degree in English, with a minor in Education, from Wake Forest University and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from U-Mass Amherst. Frances has also taught writing at the college level. Frances enjoys working with students and meeting book lovers of all ages  and schedules a limited number of author visits to schools and libraries each year.

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Frances publishes her first novel for adult readers, and launches a brand new series for readers who are just starting out…

The year 2016 saw Frances publish three novels, including Birds in the Air, her first novel for adults. As a longtime quilter and the host of a podcast on the quilting life, it’s no surprise that Frances decided to make quilting the focus of Birds in the Air. “There’s a rule of thumb for writers: Write the books you want to read,” she said. “I’m so happy whenever writers like Jennifer Chivavirini, Marie Bostwick and Sandra Dallas come out with new quilting novels — I wish more quilters wrote books! So it makes sense that if I love reading books about quilting, I should write one.”

Sam the Man & the Chicken Plan
Readers in Grades 1 to 4 now have a series from Frances written especially for them. These early Chapter Books follow Sam the Man, who needs to earn some money but is a bit young for most of the work other people do.  In Sam the Man and the Chicken Plan, Sam gets creative and end up learning about about chickens, and more than a little about his neighbor, Mr. Stockfish. The Bulletin for the Center of Children’s Books wrote of Sam the Man & the Chicken Plan: “The story has accessibility, charm, and gentle wit, and the subtle strokes of human dynamics are masterful.” Sam’s adventures continue in February 2017 with the publication of the second book in the series, Sam the Man and the Rutabaga Plan.

Trouble the Water
Trouble the Water is the sweeping tale of the friendship between a black girl and a white boy and the prejudices they must overcome in segregated Celeste, Kentucky, as the pair try to solve the mysteries surrounding a lonely old dog. And as Callie and Wendell’s search for the old dog brings them closer and closer to a lost cabin in the woods, the simmering prejudices of the townspeople boil over. Shelf Awareness calls Trouble the Water “…a spooky, slow-burning, multi-layered novel, with lively and pitch-perfect dialogue reminiscent of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.”
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Creative Writing for Kids

Frances has taught Creative Writing to Kids for Years…

Even before Frances became a novelist, she earned a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from U-Mass Amherst and taught writing at a college. For years, she was also the editor and publisher an arts magazine for kids, which was chock full of exercised teaching creative writing for kids, interviews with authors, writing prompts, poetry contests… — you name it!

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