Anna Olswanger's Blog

September 2, 2013

I've been endeavoring to get a film option for Greenhorn, my illustrated middle grade novel about a young Holocaust survivor, which was published in December. What I succeeded in doing was finding a screenwriter and a director who want to make a small, independent film of Greenhorn. They are producing the film but also asked me to co-produce. That means I've helped with finding locations in New York City and am in the process of helping with the fundraising. The director and the screenwriter have the goal of submitting the film for an Academy Award nomination in the Short Films Awards category.

We've set up a page for the Greenhorn Film Project , where people can sign up to receive announcements about the film.

I wonder if some of you could help get the word out about the project by tweeting, blogging, or posting a message on your Facebook page with a link to the URL:

If you know of people who feel strongly about the legacy of the Holocaust, perhaps you could direct them to the Greenhorn Film Project page.

I'm happy to send an electronic galley (PDF) of the book Greenhorn to anyone who would like to share it. I'm hoping we'll all be sitting in a theater next year and watching the film version.

Thanks for your help.

Anna Olswanger | @AnnaOlswanger |
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Published on September 02, 2013 12:57 • 220 views • Tags: film, greenhorn, greenhorn-film-project

June 25, 2013

This morning I donated a manuscript consultation as a literary agent to an online auction by The Born Free Foundation , an international wildlife charity that works throughout the world to stop individual wild animal suffering.

People can submit up to 10 pages of a manuscript for a 10-minute phone consultation. It's a great chance to get feedback from a professional.

For those of you who don't know me well, I've been an agent with Liza Dawson Associates in New York for eight years. I've sold to Bloomsbury, Chronicle, HarperCollins, Houghton Mifflin, Penguin, Random House, and Simon & Schuster, among other publishers. You can view my complete profile here on Goodreads.

Please visit Bidding for Good and consider making a bid before the auction closes this Saturday, June 29th.

And please tell all your writing friends.

We all fall in love with animal characters in books. Now it's time to help them in real life.

Thanks for your help in spreading the word.
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Published on June 25, 2013 04:36 • 160 views • Tags: animals, anna-olswanger, auction, bidding-for-good, born-free, literary-agent

April 9, 2013

Greenhorn by Anna OlswangerEarly this year I posted a giveaway for Greenhorn, my short novel for middle grade readers, on Goodreads. In Greenhorn, a young Holocaust survivor comes to a Brooklyn yeshiva, where his obsessive attachment to a mysterious box arouses the curiosity and unkind attention of the other boys.

is based on a true story.

I received a message through Goodreads from a woman named Denise. She said she didn't enter many giveaways but mine caught her eye because her novel Rose's Will also contained a Holocaust story, a true one that the survivor allowed her to tell. She said she thought it was important to keep this atrocity present in the minds of future generations, and that she hoped to make it to the A-list. "It sounds like an awesome book."

Rose's Will by Denise DeSioI told Denise what I usually say to other people who write about the Holocaust, that I was glad she had preserved the Holocaust survivor's story, that these survivors would all be gone someday, and only their stories would be left as evidence of what they had been through. But then I told her about a negative review I received on Goodreads from someone who criticized an aspect of Greenhorn for not being historically accurate. I shared with Denise my response, that although the aspect of the story was not historically accurate, the character in the story believed it was, and I felt compelled to remain true to his story.

And then I told her not to worry about making it to the A-list. I would send her an electronic galley.

"Your character Aaron reminded me of my son when he was a child, always sticking up for the underdog," she wrote after she read the galley. "As for the soap thing, I thought that the rabbi placed enough doubt that a reader wouldn't necessarily conclude that it was true. I thought you did a good job leaving it ambiguous. Good story. Thanks for sharing."

I thanked her back. That was that.

But a few days later she wrote me again. She said that she had been looking around on my website, and found an interview about "Jewish story." She said she wasn't Jewish, and in fact was an atheist, but she said it wasn't until she read the interview that she realized what she had been looking for in her reading. "It's that moral depth and the thirst for analysis and meaning. It's the belief that we can all be better people if we choose to. And that's one of the central themes of Rose's Will. I think Cynthia Ozick would consider me a Jewish writer."

I knew what she meant about looking for meaning. I had written Greenhorn because I needed to understand the little boy's loneliness and why he was fixated on the box. I wanted to suggest to Denise that she write a blog about her message to me. But then I thought, maybe she had already written a blog, so I went to her website to look for a link, and there I saw on the home page, a blog entry. What Denise wrote was that she had just met with her oncologist, who told her that she had her greatest chance of survival with chemotherapy and possibly radiation. Denise had cancer. She had gone through a mastectomy and now needed more therapy. And she had drawn a little comic of her body on the page with a photograph of her face pasted in without hair. She'd had a rotten last few months. The surgery had been rough.

What could I say? Denise was fighting to stay alive, yet she had taken the time to contact me and have a back-and-forth conversation about a little book that was nothing in the scheme of her life. I told her I wished I could take her suffering away. And I thanked her again for reading Greenhorn and for making me feel that it had been important to her.

She wrote back one last time. "Thanks for the empathy. One can never get enough of it in my particular situation. I'm taking it one day at a time, as they say. And I should be thanking you for piquing my interest and distracting me from my current personal hell. Glad to have met you."

I was glad to have met her, too, glad to have distracted her from her current hell, if only for a few moments, glad that maybe I had found a piece of the meaning I had been looking for when I was writing Greenhorn.
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Published on April 09, 2013 06:55 • 1,022 views • Tags: cancer, desio, greenhorn, holocaust, jewish-book, olswanger, yeshivah

Anna Olswanger's Blog

Anna Olswanger
Anna Olswanger is a literary agent with Liza Dawson Associates in New York where she specializes in picture books & adult nonfiction. She is the author of the award-winning picture book Shlemiel ...more
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