A Note About Homework, for Students and Teachers

If your teacher has requested that you e-mail a writer requesting details about his or her life or writing career, please give your teacher the link to this page. If you are a teacher who is considering making this assignment, please read the following.

Dear Teacher,

I appreciate that having your students write to writers asking for personal information about their lives must seem like an exciting class idea. However, I write for a living, and receive quite a number of requests of this sort every year, and for me the prospect of participating in homework, with the added blackmail that the student will do poorly if I do not agree to use my work time or, more likely, personal and family time, to make sure the kid gets a good grade, is loathsome.

I graduated from the demands of teachers and their rights to my time in 1979; I am a public person only to the extent that I choose to be, unlike movie stars and others who have given up their privacy in exchange for huge paychecks; and I do not choose to discuss the intimate details of my personal life, my childhood, or how both relate to my writing so that you’ll have something on your lesson plan for the semester.

I can’t speak for all writers. But I can speak for myself. Don’t ask your students to do this. They don’t enjoy it, and I don’t have time for it.

All my best wishes,

Holly Lisle


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