AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEWS
Contact: Sarah Gilbert
856.489.8654 ext. 317
Using Literary Fiction to Expose His Own Personal Struggles
AWARD WINNING WRITER LEARNS SELF-COMPASSION BY OFFERING IT TO AT-RISK STUDENTS
A career writer of screenplays, novels and songs, Jonathan LaPoma has an impressive list of accolades of over 40 awards since 2013, including first place in the 2014 Hollywood Screenplay Contest and the Grand Prize at the 2014 London Film Award for Feature Screenplay. He has always had a talent for writing but after his life changing experience as a rookie teacher in a troubled Miami Public School, he turned inward to find the content for his new work of literary fiction, Developing Minds: An American Ghost Story [Laughing Fire Press, September 14, 2015].
A combination of his compassionate connection with at-risk youth and his struggle to find himself as a young teacher, LaPoma uses his experiences as inspiration for writing about themes of alienation and misery as human constructions. Now an advocate for mental health, LaPoma advocates for self-understanding and acceptance as a means to achieve social progress.
He explains, “We’re living in a society riddled with mental health issues that, I believe, block our development as individuals and a community. If you can find the humanity in yourself and the confidence and strength in you, below all the layers of shame and self-hatred, you can start to become less affected by the shame and abuse you experience, and you’ll be able to grow as a person and as a leader of a classroom. If you find the humanity, you’ll be able to see that, even in those moments when the kids are at their worst, that their behavior has nothing to do with you and your own faults.”
Insightful, engaging and intelligent, among the topics that LaPoma has immediate availability for interview and feature/profile opportunities to discuss include:
- Cultivating empathy through storytelling: the personal and professional experiences that have shaped his perspective on mental health issues
- Writing with the purpose of telling truths of what’s really going on in at risk schools
- Emotional first year struggles he experienced as a teacher not related to classroom management or pedagogy
- What first year teachers need to know that isn’t taught in college
- The transition from self-destruction to personal triumph and his advice for others facing struggles
About the Author:
Jonathan LaPoma is an award-winning novelist, screenwriter, songwriter, and poet. In the past ten years, he’s worked in over fifteen American public schools as either a substitute or full-time teacher. In 2005, he received a BA in history and a secondary education credential from the State University of New York at Geneseo. Jonathan has written two novels, five feature-length screenplays, and hundreds of songs and poems. His screenplays have won over forty awards/honors at various international screenwriting competitions, including first-place victories in the 2014 Hollywood Screenplay Contest (Grand Jury Prize), the 2015 Las Vegas Screenplay Contest (two wins: Grand Jury Prize and Grand Prize for Drama), the 2014 London Film Awards (Grand Prize: Feature Screenplay category), the 2014 Awareness Film Festival, and the 2014 West Field Screenwriting Awards (The New York Award). He lives in San Diego, CA, and teaches at a public secondary school.
Developing Minds [Laughing Fire Press, September 14, 2015] is currently available for pre-order via Amazon.