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Authors and (Very) Young Writers Convene at Camp

"Quagmire!" "Flabbergasted!" “ Doldrums!"

Just a few of the words from the children’s classic The Phantom Tollbooth, words that inspired the twenty four kids who gathered recently at the Thalia Book Club Summer Camp, at Symphony Space.

Tollbooth’s author, Norton Juster, read from the book and led the group of campers in wordplay exercises

“Write a conversation between two characters,” Jester instructed them “One or both of them can be you, yourself. One or both can be live or dead, human or non-human, animate or inanimate, hispid or glabrous.”

Over confused murmurs and a “What?” from the crowd, Juster explained: “I just wanted to see if you were paying attention.”

The campers have spent the summer reading and writing their own stories. And they’ve faced some of the crises that all aspiring writers do.

“I couldn’t think of what to write about at first,” said Fred Hechinger, 10. “And then I decided I was going to have a conversation with my writer’s block.”

They worked it out.