Award-winning author Katrina Shawver has returned for a second stint as the Writer in Residence at the Glendale Public Library for the summer.
Shawver has won numerous international awards for “Henry: A Polish Swimmer’s True Story of Friendship from Auschwitz to America,” her meticulously researched biography of Henry Zguda, a Polish swimming champion who was imprisoned in two Nazi concentration camps and eventually defected from communist Poland in 1956 at the height of the Cold War with the help of friends he met in Buchenwald.
Shawver met Zguda, who moved to Phoenix in 1980, a short time before his death in 2003 and became so intrigued with his stories of Nazi terror in Poland before and during World War II that she spent 15 years researching the Nazis’ occupation of Poland, visiting libraries there and discovering previously unknown German documents.
Her book has been hailed for its detailed account of the Nazis persecution of Polish people.
Shawver said she enjoyed her first stint last year at Glendale Library—and apparently, so did the general public.
“It went very well,” she said. “All the workshops had great attendance, and most of the one-on-one appointments were filled. I had repeats come back so I could watch them grow as writers, and some people still keep in touch.”
Shawver had been brought to the Glendale Library by the Writers in Residence program, which promotes writing in communities by connecting local professional authors at local libraries with people seeking expert advice on their writing through one-on-one appointments and workshops. All experience levels are welcome to the free programs, and advance registration is required for both the workshops and individual appointments.
This program is supported by the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records, a division of the Secretary of State, with federal funds from the institute of Museum and Library Services.
“Last year I was stationed at the Glendale Foothills Library near 58th Avenue and Union Hills,” Shawver said. “I can’t say enough good things about their staff—several have been there since it opened 20 years ago.
“Their adult programming librarian is very active bringing in events and speakers, so they draw from a much larger radius than Glendale. Now that everything will be virtual, that opens up the geography further. And heck, they have a huge Dale Chihuly sculpture in their lobby that the library commissioned for the branch.”
This year’s Writer in Residence program has moved to a virtual format, and all programs are being presented via Zoom.
Participants must register with an email address so the library can send the Zoom login information for each session.