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Al umniSpot l i ght May2011 Mar i aDahvanaHeadl ey , 1996YAWi nneri nWr i t i ng

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Cl eopat r a, Egypt i an gods, cl assi cal monst er sandRomanar mi eshaveal li n common? One wr i t er :Mar i a Dahvana Headl ey .A 1996 YoungAr t s Wi nneri n Wr i t i ng,Mar i ai soneoft hebr i ght estand mostpr omi si ngwr i t er st ohaveemer ged f r om t he YoungAr t s Week exper i ence. Herupcomi nghi st or i calf ant asy ,Queen ofKi ngs,wi l l soonber el easedbyDut t on i n May2011 ast he f i r stvol ume ofan ent i r et r i l ogy .Mar i ai sal sot heaut horof TheYearofYes:A Memoi r ,whi ch has beent r ansl at edi nt oni nel anguagesand adapt ed f ort el evi si onand f i l m by20t h Cent ur y Fox and Par amountPi ct ur es, r espect i vel y . Mar i ahasappear ed asa f eat ur ed aut horand speakeratvar i ous venuesi ncl udi ngTheT exasBookFest i valand Wor dst ock.Shehasal so been i nt er vi ewedonavar i et yofnat i onaland i nt er nat i onal t el evi si on and r adi o pr ogr ams,i ncl udi ng The T oday Show and Count down wi t h Kei t h Ol ber mann onMSNBC.AMacDowel l Col onyFel l ow, herwr i t i ngshaveappear edi nanumber of l i t er ar y ant hol ogi es, i ncl udi ng The New Yor kTi mes,El l e,TheWashi ngt on Post , among ot her s. Mar i a l i ves i n Seat t l ewi t hherhusbandpl aywr i ghtand scr eenwr i t erRober tSchenkkanandt hei r t wowar l i keBengalcat s.Formor e i nf or mat i on,pl easevi si t www. mar i adahvanaheadl ey . com

Wer ecent l ycaughtupwi t hMar i aandaskedhert oshar esomei nsi ght sabout t heYoungAr t spr ogr am andt hel i f eofawr i t er :

1)How hasYoungAr t spr epar ed/ af f ect edyourl i f e? YoungAr t sWeek1996wasamaj or ,l i f echangi ngexper i encef orme.I twast het hi ngt hatmadememovet oNYC -I ' mf r om r ur al I daho,andIknewal mostnot hi ngaboutt heEastCoastnoraboutt hei deat hatt her ewer ef abul ous youngar t i st sal lovert hepl ace.Iar r i vedi nMi ami ,andwasf l oor ed.Af ew mont hsl at er ,Iwasatt heSundance Pl aywr i ght sLabi nUt ah( al soduet oYoungAr t s) ,andt henIwasi nNYC,st ar t i ngmycar eer .Ther easonImoved t oNY,however ,hadnot hi ngt odowi t har t ,andever yt hi ngt odowi t hbei ngat eenagegi r latYoungAr t sWeek!I metanact ort her ewhowasr eal l y ,r eal l ygoodl ooki ng.Het ol dmeaboutNYU-hewasappl yi ngt oschoolt her e, andhet ol dmeIshoul dt oo.Ineversaw t heguyagai n-It hi nkhewentt oCar negi eMel l on-butIwasl aunched i nt oanew wor l d,onet hatIhadn' ti magi ned.It hi nkYoungAr t smademeopent of r i endshi psandcol l abor at i ons wi t hpeopl ei nal l ar easoft hear t swor l d.Iendedupmaki ngal otoff r i ends,al l peopl ewhosewor kIadmi r ed.Thi s hascont i nuedi nt heyear ssi nce,andi t ' smademyl i f easanar t i stal otr i cher .Lat el y ,asIpr epar ef ort her el ease ofmynewnovel ,cr eat i ngmar ket i ngf ort hi spr oj ect ,wi t habunchofot herar t i st s-f i l mmaker s,songwr i t er s,et cet er a-I ' vebeent hi nki ngaboutYoungAr t sal ot .Myr ecentl i f ehasbeenr emi ndi ngmeoft hatmagi cal weeki nMi ami whenIr eal i z edt hatmaybeIcoul dact ual l ymakeal i vi ngdoi ngwhatIl oved. 2)Whati syourbi ggestwor kaccompl i shmentandper sonalaccompl i shment ? Ikeepr ei nvent i ngmysel f ,soi t ' shar dt osay .( Ther ei nvent i oni sal sopar toft her easonIhavesomuchf un! )Back i nmyYoungAr t s&NYUdays,Iwasapl aywr i ght ,t henIwr ot eamemoi r ,andnow Ihaveanovelcomi ngout .The bestt hi ngaboutal lofi ti st hatI ' vebeenabl et ohaveacar eershar i ngst or i eswi t hot herpeopl e.That ' saver yf un t hi ngt odof oral i vi ng.QueenofKi ngs,t henovelt hat ' scomi ngouti nMayf r om Dut t on,i sahi st or i calf ant asy , i nvol vi ngCl eopat r a,Egypt i angods,cl assi cal monst er s,andt heRomanAr my ,andi t ' spr et t ywi l dandcr az y .When Ihadt hati dea,Iwasmi dwayt hr oughwr i t i nganot herbook,andIputi tasi de,whi chwast er r i f yi ng,buti tpai dof f . Sof ar ,wr i t i ngandsel l i ngQueenofKi ngshasbeenahugeaccompl i shment ,because,unl i kemymemoi r ,t hi s cameoutofmyi magi nat i on,soi tr eal l yf eel sl i keIwor kedt omakei t .Thatmakesmei ncr edi bl yhappy .Asf ormy bi ggestper sonalaccompl i shment ,sameast heabove,pr et t ymuch.Ikeepr ei nvent i ng,butt hepar t sofmet hat havest ayedt hesamehavebeent heonest hathavemademyl i f er eal l yhappy .I ' m asoci al per son,andI ' vebeen ver yl uckyi nmyf r i ends.I ' vegott onsofl ovei nmyl i f e,andsomeofi thasbeenhar dwon.I twaswor t hi t . 3)Whati st henumberonepi eceofadvi ceyouwoul dl i ket ogi vet oournew YoungAr t smember s? Bebr ave.I fyouhaveanut t er l ycr az yi dea,i tmaywel lbeexact l yt her i ghtone.Fol l ow youri nst i nct s,andf ol l ow t hem f er oci ousl y .Havi ngacar eerasanar t i sti sasmuch-ormor e-aboutper sever anceanddr i veasi ti sabout t al ent .I t ' sal soaboutmaki ngyourownl uck.Putyour sel foutt her e.Gi veasmuchasyouget .Begener ouswhen youcanbe,evenwhenyout hi nkyoudon' thavemucht ogi ve.I t ' sbasi c,buti tpaysof f . 4)Pl easef i ni sht hi ssent ence… “ Iwoul dnotbewher eIam now,i fi twasnotf or( i nser twor dor phr aseher e) . ” …r eachi ngoutt opeopl eIadmi r e,andmaki ngt hem i nt omyf r i ends.Ihaveanamaz i nggr oupofcol l abor at or sand suppor t er s,andi t ' smai nl ybecauseIf oundt hepeopl ewhosewor kIador ed,andchasedt hem downt ot el lt hem so.Agr eatdealofmysuccesshasbeenduet opeopl eIl ove. ht t p: / / www. mar i adahvanaheadl ey . com/


Alumni Spotlight May 2011