Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Meet Our 2019 Conference Faculty: K. A. Holt

Meet the faculty of the 2019 Austin SCBWI Writers & Illustrators Working Conference. We’ve asked all our faculty members to answer 4 quick questions so we can get to know them better.

Kari Anne Holt, Author and Co-Founder of Typewriter Rodeo

Kari Anne Holt is the award-winning author of many middle grade novels in verse including REDWOOD & PONYTAIL (Chronicle, 2019), KNOCKOUT, HOUSE ARREST, and RHYME SCHEMER. She is also the author of FROM YOU TO ME, GNOME-A-GEDDON, RED MOON RISING, BRAINS FOR LUNCH: A ZOMBIE NOVEL IN HAIKU, and MIKE STELLAR: NERVES OF STEEL. Her debut picture book, I WONDER, published by Random House Books for Young Readers and illustrated by Kenard Pak, will find its way to bookshelves in October, 2019. Kari Anne is a founding member of Typewriter Rodeo and lives with her wife and three children in Austin, TX.

Kari Anne Holt
Kari Anne Holt

What attracted you to children’s books?

I would like to say that I was born knowing I’d write for children, but the honest story is that whenever I sit down to write, the voice of a ten-year-old comes out. I guess my soul has a kind of arrested development going on, or my 10-year-old self still has a LOT to say!

What’s the best part of your job?

The absolute best part of my job is being fortunate enough to travel to schools all over the country to speak with students, teachers, and librarians who have read my books. Connecting with readers is such a joy, and being able to share my love of writing and poetry is something I’m very, very lucky to get to do. People will sometimes ask me, “Aren’t you afraid of all those middle schoolers?!” and I always answer, “No way!” Middle schoolers are hilarious and complex and so, so smart and observant. When writing is a struggle, they remind me why it’s worth it.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

I’ve always been a perfectionist, but lately I feel like that part of me has kicked into high gear. I want to write the best that I can, and it is often a struggle to know when a project is really finished or when I need to polish it more.

What’s the best piece of advice you were given that helped drive your career?

The best piece of advice I was ever given is to write what’s in your heart. Write what’s in your guts. Don’t try to write to a trend, or try to guess what the next big thing will be. Write the story you want and need to tell, and it will find its place in the world.

Come see Kari Anne Holt at the 2019 Austin SCBWI conference, May 18-19, 2019