Title: Can Books Create Empathy, Motivation and Respect?
(A deep look into reading and writing such books for the young)
Speaker: Elizabeth Laird McDowall
Profile of the Talk
Why does fiction matter to the young? Is reading a waste of time, or is it a fundamental element in a young person's growth towards understanding others and the development of emotional intelligence? Writer Elizabeth Laird will talk of her own journey to become a writer, where she finds inspiration, and why she believes that stories that engage the heart and mind can be a force for good in individual lives and communities. She will be addressing both readers and writers.
Elizabeth Laird has lived in many parts of the world, including Ethiopia, Malaysia, Iraq and Lebanon. She is married to the writer David McDowall. Her oldest son, Angus, is currently Reuters Deputy Bureau Chief in Beirut. She and David divide their time between Edinburgh and London.
Elizabeth has written contemporary and historical fiction for children and young adults, as well as the retellings of folktales. Some of her novels are set outside the UK, in Kurdistan, Ethiopia, Lebanon, India and Pakistan. Others are set in Britain and deal with the problems and concerns of young people growing up today. She has also written four historical novels, and many shorter novels and picture books for younger children. Her retellings of folk stories include Shahnameh, the Persian Book of Kings, illustrated by Shirin Adl.