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Tamora Pierce Is A Badass.

If you’ve ever doubted that books change lives, I suggest you attend a Tamora Pierce event.


I took this inadequate photo at eleven o’clock last night (and futzed with it slightly in Flickr’s Piknik mode). At that point, these fans had been waiting about three hours to have their books signed — and more importantly, to meet and talk to Tamora.

You probably can’t tell from the photo, but Beka Cooper, the Storm Queen, and a mage are all in line.

You definitely can’t tell from the photo, but at least one person in that line credits Tamora Pierce with keeping her alive.

When she got, finally, to meet Ms. Pierce, she apologized for crying. She’d promised herself that she wouldn’t cry.

Tamora came from behind the table to give her a hug.

This young woman had survived her bad times with the help of Tamora’s books. Now her goal was to be a prosecutor, to lock up pedophiles and rapists. But it was clear that she felt self-conscious about crying. She kept apologizing for her intense emotions.

Tamora asked her, quietly, “Why do you think I write?”

Maybe I shouldn’t have told this story. Arguably, it was a private moment between Tamora and her fan that just happened to be shared by those of us within earshot.

But I’m telling it because I think it’s far too easy to forget the impact books can have. I was grateful and humbled to witness it.

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  • sarah-marie
    October 19, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    I saw Tamora Pierce speak earlier this year. As it happens, she mentioned that the story you tell above happens in some form at many of her speaking events. So I think it’s just fine that you shared this instantiation of the story.

  • Robin Talley
    October 19, 2010 at 7:00 pm

    So impressed by how she handled that. But she’s probably encountered that sort of thing before.

    There’s no question books change lives… but it’s rare and important to see it illustrated.