Writer in Residence

Oh hey, it’s me. Your old friend, Naseem.

By Naseem Hrab

I’ll be your writer-in-residence for August. I’m a first-time author and a former librarian, and I’ve worked in children’s publishing for over ten years. I’m a huge fan of improv, stand-up comedy, storytelling and picture books. And I also love coffee ice cream and watching Frasier. (I just copied all of that information from my online dating profile.)

When I was a kid, I loved reading and creative writing. I wrote pages and pages of stories before I knew how to spell. But when I grew up, aside from a few very random, very rare writing attempts every couple of years (McSweeney's and The Rumpus), I just stopped. I simply never made the time to write. It was only three years ago that I finally tried to make my writing dreams a reality. I was tired of talking about wanting to be a writer—I wanted to be able to call myself a writer. <cue gif of Liz Lemon looking triumphant>


So, I spent over a year writing a picture book manuscript called Ira Crumb Makes a Pretty Good Friend and after working on a number of drafts with a bunch of editorial-minded friends, Owlkids Books decided to publish it! After that, the incredible and wonderful Josh Holinaty agreed to illustrate it! And now, it’s a real live book! We’ve got an Ira sequel coming out in Fall 2018 and I have another picture book coming out with Groundwood Books in 2019. GUYS! I’M TRYING TO TELL YOU THAT DREAMS CAN COME TRUE.

Over the next month, I’m going share lots of stuff with you: my thoughts on storytelling and picture book writing; my tips for writing picture books and getting published; and a handful of interviews with amazing authors, illustrators and publishing folks, including Kyo Maclear, Ashley Spires, Kelly Collier, John Martz and more!!! And because I love comedy so much, many of my posts will focus on some aspect of writing funny stuff for kids. Yay!

Anyway, enough blahblahblah for now. Stay tuned for my next post, where I’ll talk about how improv classes taught me how to craft a story.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book.

Naseem Hrab is a writer, a storyteller and a pretty good friend. Her comedy writing has appeared on McSweeney's Internet Tendency and The Rumpus. Naseem worked as a librarian for a time and now works in children's publishing. She lives in Toronto, Ontario.