2018 Heginbotham Lecture

The 2018 Heginbotham Lecture was given by Newberry Award winning author Kelly Barnhill. She spoke to an audience of friends, family, faculty and staff, and students who had to be there, such as myself. Her lecture was enjoyable, for it gave a sneak peak into her creative and thought  process, which is different for everyone. And hers in particular, I find fascinating, for a truth/idea is reveled to her in a vision like way and she has to make sense of it. She processes the idea until she is able to connect point A to point B, point A being what was reveled to her and point B being what she knows to be the truth. Barnhill explains that fairy tales and the need for darkness help her understand what she knows to be true.

By using fairy tales, Barnhill uses the imagination way of knowing, for she takes what she know to be the truth and puts her own interpretation on it. She explains and expresses truths in a creative way through her writing. She also uses the emotion way of knowing, for her interpretations of the truth are influenced by her emotions. For, if the truth makes her sad then she will interpret it in a way that will also make her readers sad. Revelation is also a way of knowing used often by Barnhill, for she is influenced by the Bible’s creation story and used theology to understand that darkness is a natural part of the world.

Her most resent book, The Girl Who Drank The Moon, combines all of Barnhill’s ways of knowing. The book opens with a creation story that is influenced by the creation story in the Bible. And the characters of the book where not carefully planned out they just came into being in Barnhill’s imagination. Once the book was published it was no longer hers. The book now belongs to the readers and it is up to them to interpret the book how they see fit. To look at Barnhill’s view of the truth from their own perspective. In many cases Barnhill’s truth and the truth the readers got from the book are not going to be the same, and that is alright. Barnhill wrote the book in hopes the reader will gain a new understanding and perspective on the world different from what they already know.

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