Reid, Suzanne Elizabeth 1944-

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REID, Suzanne Elizabeth 1944-


Born December 10, 1944, in Chatham, MA; daughter of Alexander (a public elementary school principal) and Marjorie (an elementary school teacher; maiden name, Bradlee) Schmid; married Robin Reid (a professor of English), 1968; children: Jennifer Reid Spitzner, Tristan Lanier. Ethnicity: "Caucasian." Education: Attended Howard University, 1965; St. Lawrence University, B.A., 1967; University of Virginia, M.A., 1968; Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Ph.D., 1993; Radford University, postdoctoral study, 1997. Politics: Democrat. Religion: "Undecided—Unitarian-Universalist?" Hobbies and other interests: Gardening, biking, kayaking, teaching, reading.


Office—Emory and Henry College, Garnand Dr., P.O. Box 947, Emory, VA 24327. E-mail—[email protected].


High school English teacher in Lovingston, VA, 1968-70; Virginia Intermont College, Bristol, VA, adjunct instructor in English and communications, 1973-77; teacher of science, reading, and Latin at a private school in Bristol, VA, 1977-79; Virginia Highlands Community College, Abingdon, VA, developmental specialist, 1979-87, adjunct instructor in English, 1986-87; Emory and Henry College, Emory, VA, associate director of development, 1987-88; high school English teacher in Abingdon, VA, 1988-90; Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA, supervisor of elementary and middle school student teachers, 1991-92; Emory and Henry College, Emory, VA, instructor in education, 1992-93; Radford University, Radford, VA, instructor in education and English, 1993-94; Emory and Henry College, Emory, VA, adjunct instructor, 1994-96, assistant professor of education and English, 1996—, director of Intensive English Institutes, 1996-2001, assistant director of Neff Center for Teacher Preparation, 2001—. Virginia Highlands Community College, adjunct instructor, 1975; Virginia Highlands Festival, chair of Creative Writing Committee, 1993-98; tutor in English as a second language.


National Council of Teachers of English (member of executive board, Assembly on Literature and Culture of Appalachia, 1995; member of board of directors, Assembly on Literature of Adolescents, 1997-99), Virginia Association of Teachers of English, Southwest Virginia Association for Multicultural Education, Phi Delta Kappa.


Presenting Cynthia Voigt, Twayne (New York, NY), 1995.

Presenting Ursula K. Le Guin, Twayne (New York, NY), 1997.

Presenting Young Adult Science Fiction, Twayne (New York, NY), 1998.

Book Bridges for ESL Students: Using Young Adult and Children's Literature to Teach ESL, Scarecrow Press (Lanham, MD), 2002.

Virginia Euwer Wolff: Capturing the Music of Young Voices, Scarecrow Press (Lanham, MD), 2003.

Contributor to books, including Censored Books: Critical Viewpoints, Volume 2, edited by Nicholas Karolides, Scarecrow Press (Lanham, MD), 2001. Contributor of articles and reviews to journals, including Signal. Member of editorial review board, English Journal, 1998—, ALAN Review, 1998—, and Virginia English Bulletin.


Suzanne Elizabeth Reid told CA: "Me? A writer? That has often been my first reaction; my second has been embarrassment as I do not believe in the false modesty it implies, and I am not proud of the prejudice my reaction reveals that nonfiction and critical writing are not as worthy or as 'real' as fiction writing. Certainly after reading Diane Ackerman's nonfiction, I am convinced that nonfiction can be as creative and as poetic as any fiction I have read.

"I write to learn about a subject. Writing forces me to focus on refining my thoughts, so they are as precisely logical as I can make them. When I was in high school, my father, who was taking night courses at New York University, challenged any assertion I made with 'How do you know?' As frustrating as it was, his questioning was great training in critical thinking.

"My family moved frequently. Within the first few days of each move, my mother would take us three children to the library, partly because we didn't have many toys or books of our own. When we finally settled in Westbury, New York, I was shy and spent many hours reading in the comfortable dignity of the Children's Library. During the summer we frequented the two libraries on Nantucket Island, where my father had taught and where we still owned a cottage in Madaket. Books are a refuge from social discomfort and an escape from the boredom I dread. I never thought of being a writer, though I composed long, descriptive letters to friends and family. I inherited my mother's New England practical disinclination to 'waste time' playing with words. Not until a course on the teaching of writing did I get 'permission' from the professor to write creatively—twenty-five pages by the end of the semester. I still remember the thrill.

"My first professional writing happened by luck. In 1990 my mother was dying of cancer. Sent to Nantucket to prepare for her last visit, I discovered Cynthia Voigt's Homecoming, about four children who had just lost their mother and who walk a route I know well. That fall, I began a doctoral program at Virginia Tech the day after my mother's funeral. A literary analysis of Voigt's work grew into my dissertation. My advisor, Pat Kelly, introduced me to Patty Campbell, renowned for her work with young adult literature and, at that time, editor of the 'Young Adult Series' for Twayne. Six months later she called, asking if I would submit my dissertation as a book; after she hung up, I screamed so loud it must have affected my husband's hearing.

"After the publication of Presenting Cynthia Voigt, Campbell offered me the chance to write Presenting Ursula K. Le Guin. The scope of Le Guin's writing and thinking was daunting. I learned much about the alternating, fluctuating rhythms of fate and individual drive, and about daring to speak or write honestly. Presenting Young Adult Science Fiction was an experiment in how to learn about a new subject. It is still not the literature I choose to read, but the immersion in the alien stuff of science fiction helped me understand how my students try to learn something new. Book Bridges for ESL Students: Using Young Adult and Children's Literature to Teach ESL is based on six years as director of a summer English-as-a-second-language program for Brazilian students.

"How do I write? I read, think, fuss around, and finally just sit down and start writing as fast as possible on the computer. I delete, backspace, and move text at least as much as I write. Often I work until two o'clock in the morning, until I feel too cold to stay up; then I go back to bed. When I write during the day, I listen to whatever is on National Public Radio. If I really need to concentrate, I listen to any music with a fast, persistent beat.

"I am too busy with teaching now to focus fully on writing. I would like to write more after I retire. I am feeling bolder now. I appreciate the opportunities that have been given to me, and I try to meet the expectations of my readers, especially my husband who proofreads my work and the editor who keeps believing in me, Patty Campbell."

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Reid, Suzanne Elizabeth 1944-

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