Students and teachers alike gathered at the Shreiber High School library to meet with renowned author Leslẻa Newman, who delivered a poignant presentation of her most recent novel, “October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard” on Oct. 18. A luncheon followed with the author, teachers and students.
Newman is the author of 64 books for readers of all ages. Her literary works include the middle grade novel, “Hachiko Waits”; the poetry collection, “Still Life with Buddy”; the short story collection, “A Letter to Harvey Milk;” and children’s books, “A Sweet Passover,” “The Who Cried Fabulous,” “The Best Cat in The World,” “Runaway Dreidel” and “Matzo Ball Moon.”
The school district describes Newman’s novel, “October Mourning,” as a masterful poetic exploration devoted to Matthew Shepard, a gay 21-year-old college student murdered on Oct. 6, 1998. The novel in verse includes her deep-felt response to the events of that tragic day. Using her poetic imagination, Newman creates fictitious monologues from various points of view, including the fence Shepard was tied to, the stars that watched over him, the deer that kept him company and Shepard himself. More than a decade later after his murder, Newman’s literary work is a stunning cycle of 68 poems that serves as an illumination for readers too young to remember, and as a powerful, enduring tribute to Matthew Shepard’s life.