A Table of Her Own

Author Marilyn Kaye ’71C-’74G has her own writing table at Hall 1900 cafe on rue Rambuteau.

“I always sit at this table because it’s near a plug for my laptop,” Kaye says. “So one day I came in, and the staff presented me with this plaque that said, ‘Marilyn’s Table,’ and they hung it on the wall above the chair. ”

A prolific writer of juvenile fiction, Kaye spends about half the year in Paris and the other half in New York City as an assistant professor of children’s literature at St. Johns University. She has built a full, rich life in France through nearly two decades of bi-continental living.

“I just had my birthday party here this summer and seventy people came, of all ages,” she says. “We had ribs, burgers, cole slaw, wine. Everyone pitched in and bought me a Cartier watch. My life is more here now.

Kaye, who grew up in Atlanta, was an English major at Emory during the early 1970s. After visiting France with a friend one summer, Kaye says, “I just fell in love immediately with the country. We met so many wonderful people.”

Kaye went on to receive her master’s degree in library science at Emory and her doctorate from the University of Chicago, all the while making extended visits to France and taking intensive courses in the language.

Her first book, the teen romance Call Me Beautiful, was published by Bantam in 1984. Kaye has had one hundred and twenty juvenile novels published since, including Avon’s Camp Sunnyside Friends series, Harper’s Three of a Kind series, and Bantam’s Replica series.

Through her work, which ranges from family stories to traditional fantasy, Kaye says, “ I want to give teenagers the sense that all their feelings are legitimate. You’re not a chicken to be afraid. You’re not a monster if you’re angry. It’s not stupid to cry. I want to keep telling them all that they are normal.”

She writes every day and keeps a journal of concepts and notes for future books. “I’m very systematic. It’s work and sweat, not waiting for lightning to strike. Someone asked me once, ‘Don’t you get up some mornings and not feel like writing?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Then what do you do?’ ‘I write anyway.’ ”–M.J.L.



© 2005 Emory University