Martha Bennett Stiles is the prizewinning author of twelve books and numerous magazine stories for young people. She has also published two adult novels (the Star in the Forest and Lonesome Road) and dozens of stories and articles in periodicals ranging from Esquire and The New York Times to TriQuarterly and Georgia Review.
Martha earned a Bachelor of Science Degree with high distinction from the University of Michigan and then, until she married, worked for the DuPont Company in Richmond, VA.
My first book, One Among the Indians,is set where I grew up. It’s about a 13 y.o. English boy who was swapped to Pocahontas’s father for a hostage. One Among the Indians was reissued as an Authors Guild-iUniverse paperback to commemorate Jamestown’s 400th anniversary.
“My second book, The Strange House at Newburyport, concerns the Underground Railroad and a haunted house. For it, I owe everything to kind, savvy librarians and interlibrary loans. Although Newburyport was the home of my father’s first American ancestors, it was only after Strange House’spublication that I was able to get to Massachusetts and thrill to discover that, thanks to those librarians, Newburyport lay just as my heroines had observed.
“Newburyport is also the setting for the beginning and climax of my fifth middle-grade novel, Sailing to Freedom, and this time I’ve seen what I describe.
“About two very different boys, one black, one white, and their danger-filled experiences with the Underground Railroad, Sailing to Freedom, was published in 2012 by Henry Holt and re-issued as a paperback in 2014. Kentucky’s exhibit choice for 2012’s National Book Fest, Sailing to Freedom made the second cut for the 2013 Crystal Kite Award, is one of Bank Street Children’s Books of the Year, a Tri-State Committee Book of Note and a 2015 Sequoyah Award nominee .
“I have taught creative writing at the Universities of Kentucky and Louisville, and in residencies at Kentucky’s Estill County Middle School, Bate Middle School, and Louisville Collegiate School, experiences I greatly cherish, though it was humbling to have some students more imaginative than I.
“I have served on the staffs of Writers Conferences from Detroit, Michigan to Charleston, South Carolina, spoken at schools from Corvallis, Oregon to Newburyport, Massachusetts, and enjoyed every one.
“I am happy making presentations to groups of any age–having been a good many ages myself.”