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Award-winning author Robin Benway shared her message of perseverance and compassion to nearly 800 students and adults across five North Central Washington counties during her four-day visit last week.

Benway talked about her failures and how they all led to the success of her book Far From the Tree, which won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. The book tells the stories of three teen-agers who are biologically related and meet for the first time as they search for their biological mother.

During her residency, she visited schools in Quincy, Mattawa, Ephrata, Soap Lake, Curlew, Oroville, Chelan and Leavenworth, and gave community talks in Omak and Wenatchee.

She shared stories of publishing her first “fiction” at the age of 6, when she wrote a letter to her local newspaper about pollution. She talked about jobs that she didn’t like but that paid the bills, and how a series of health problems and personal tragedies pushed her to finally start writing books.

People who attended her talks offered their stories about adoption and their experiences in foster care. They also asked for advice on writing and publishing books.

On the day she left Wenatchee, Benway tweeted: “Four days, eight schools, ten talks, and about 20,000 photos of autumn leaves. Washington, you were spectacular and it was an honor to visit you.”

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