Author Bethany Hegedus

Author Bethany Hegedus

BETHANY HEGEDUS’ books include the award-winning Grandfather Gandhi and the newly released Be the Change: A Grandfather Gandhi Story, both co-written with Arun Gandhi, grandson to the Mahatma and illustrated by Evan Turk.

Bethany writes about the South in her picture book Alabama Spitfire: The Story of Harper Lee and To Kill a Mockingbird and her middle grade novels Truth with a Capital T and Between us Baxters.  Her novels are known for gracefully handling issues of race, class, and cross-group friendships.

A graduate of the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA program in Writing for Children & Young Adults, Bethany is prior editor of the literary journal Hunger Mountain. Bethany is the Owner and Creative Director of The Writing Barn, a writing retreat, workshop and event space in Austin, Texas.

She has sat on panels with Ilyasha Shabazz, Malcolm X’s daughter, and Arun Gandhi, grandson to the Mahatma. A former educator, Bethany is an in-demand presenter and she speaks and teaches across the country.


Latest Release

AlabamaSpit cvr

From Balzer + Bray

Alabama Spitfire: The Story of Harper Lee and To Kill a Mockingbird
By Bethany Hegedus
Illustrated by Erin McGuire
Published by Balzer + Bray

“Clearly a labor of love.”
Kirkus Review

Nelle Harper Lee grew up in the rocky red soil of Monroeville, Alabama. From the get-go she was a spitfire.

Unlike most girls, Nelle preferred overalls to dresses and climbing trees to tea parties. Nelle loved to watch her daddy try cases in the courtroom. And she and her best friend, Tru, devoured books and wrote stories of their own. More than anything, Nelle loved words.

This love eventually took her all the way to New York City, where she dreamed of becoming a writer. Any chance she had, Nelle sat at her typewriter, writing, revising, and chasing her dream. Nelle wouldn’t give up—not until she discovered the right story, the one she was born to tell.

The Writing Barn


The Writing Barn

Situated on 7.5 wooded acres in Austin, Texas, The Writing Barn is surrounded by mature trees, home to birds and deer. It’s a peaceful out-of-town environment without ever leaving Austin.

With floor to ceiling bookshelves, rows of instructional craft books, free wi-fi, and no television, The Writing Barn is the perfect spot for an overnight writing retreat, to host a writing class, or throw a book launch party.

Operated by children’s book author Bethany Hegedus, The Writing Barn is here to serve all your writing-related needs.

Check out The Barn‘s amenitiesraves from past attendees and the Top 10 Reasons You Want to Hold Your Next Event at The Writing Barn, courtesy of author P.J. Hoover.

The Writing Barn is located near Manchacha Road and Slaughter Lane in South Austin, Texas. For an exact address and to schedule a viewing appointment, please call 512-665-0886 or  email info@thewritingbarn.com.

Please see our Rates & Rental Information for further details.

Multi Media Bar

Childhood Friendship of Harper Lee & Truman Capote

The picture book Alabama Spitfire:The Story of Harper Lee and To Kill a Mockingbird explores the friendship of Harper Lee and Truman Capote and its impact on To Kill a Mockingbird. Watch as author Bethany Hegedus discusses some of her research on the literary spitfires.     Is there a childhood friendship that influences your...

Order Alabama Spitfire for Harper Lee’s Typewriter

If only we could give away Harper Lee’s actual typewriter! In addition to being priceless, it would be quite heavy to ship. Instead, we are offering a serigraph handmade by Curious City of Lee’s Underwood No. 5. On the paper is typed, “live a life of your own design.” I know you do and will. To receive the serigraph, order from Book People by 2/16/18. The book will be signed by both the author and the illustrator and shipped with the print....

On Growing Up with To Kill a Mockingbird

In an interview with Curious City, I talk about my lifetime of reading To Kill a Mockignbird. I’d love to hear your memories of reading the classic. Share them online with the hashtag #WhenIReadTKAM....

Bethany Hegedus’ 9/11 Experience Led to Grandfather Gandhi

Grandfather Gandhi author Bethany Hegedus talks with NBC in Austin, Texas about how her experience on 9/11 led her to meet her future co-author Arun...

Alabama Spitfire Announced

Kristin Rens of HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray has acquired world rights to Bethany Hegedus’ (l.) Alabama Spitfire: The Story of Harper Lee and To Kill a Mockingbird in a pre-empt. This first picture book biography of the renowned author tells how a scrappy tomboy named Nelle realized her lifelong dream of becoming an author and penned one of the most influential books of our time. Erin McGuire will illustrate; publication is scheduled for spring 2018; Alexandra Penfold at Upstart Crow Literary represented the author and Susan Cohen of Writers House...

School Visit at NYOS (Not Your Ordinary School) Charter School

  On March 27, 2015 Bethany Hegedus visited the Kramer & Lamar campuses at the NYOS (Not Your Ordinary School) to inspire students to choose to live as light and make positive change in the world. Her presentation on Grandfather Gandhi left a glow on the school with staff and students taking the “Live your Life as Light” pledge and promising to make a difference. Here are a few snapshots and testimonials to enlighten your day. “While reading Grandfather Gandhi with Benjamin yesterday he was able to tell me the...

Writing Process Blog Tour

We writers love talking process. So much so that the smart and perhaps a little evil (one of her next books is titled Evil Librarian) Michelle Knudsen and Paula Freedman put together a Writing Process Blog Tour. Whether you’re a fellow published author  or have yet to be published, this collection of blog posts offers tips of the trade, confessions on what makes a writer’s process unique and much, much, more. Last week’s writer spotlight was on the mysterious F. A. Michaels, where she shared about her process, writing...

Austin American Statesman feature on Grandfather Gandhi

This past Friday, the Austin American-Statesman published an article featuring The Writing Barn’s owner and creative director, Bethany Hegedus. The article discussed her new children’s book, Grandfather Gandhi, inspired by events told by Gandhi’s own grandson, Arun Gandhi. The book is out now. You can purchase it at Book People. It is a great read for all ages. Click Here to Read the Entire...

An Open Book Foundation: A Book for Every Child

It’s an author’s dream to do a school visit and have each and every child in the audience that day leave with a signed copy. Not only is it an author’s dream, more importantly it’s a child’s dream. An Open Book Foundation makes dreams come true for kids, for educators and for authors. Their mission: “to promote literacy among disadvantaged children and teens in the greater Washington, D.C. area by giving books to students and schools and providing access to authors and illustrators.”  Dara La Porte, founder of An...

Learning about Lightning: Grandfather Gandhi School Visits

This last week, a day after the pub date, for Grandfather Gandhi, I was out in the “field”—visiting classrooms, sharing the story behind the-story of Grandfather Gandhi (for more on how the book came to be, read this interview with Arun Gandhi and myself by Kirkus), reading the book, and talking to kids about choosing to live our lives as light and how to use our anger proactively. At Newton Country Day, when I asked the girls (it’s an all-girls school) whether or not they had ever been pushed...