I love to write middle grade contemporary fantasy, the real world with a magical twist, intended for readers ages 9-14.
Work-in-Progress #1: (THSH)
I also write non-fiction.
Byberry State Hospital is a non-fiction pictorial history about the abandoned state mental hospital located in the outskirts of Philadelphia. I used to pass it every Saturday morning on my way to my roller skating lessons (thanks to which I can skate forwards, backwards, in circles, and with minimum injury or embarrassing falls). I used to ask my parents a million questions about the hospital and now I finally know the answers.
Looming on the outskirts of Philadelphia County since 1906, the mental hospital most commonly known as “Byberry” stood abandoned for 16 years before being demolished in 2006. At its peak in the 1960s, Byberry was home to more than 6,000 patients and employer to more than 800. With its own self-sustaining farm, bowling alleys, barbershop, ice cream parlor, federal post office, and baseball team, Byberry was a micro-community. Throughout its history, the hospital served as an educational institution for Philadelphia’s medical, nursing, and psychology students; was the site of a World War II Civilian Public Service conscientious objector unit; and a volunteering hot spot for local churches, schools, and Girl and Boy Scout troops. This book provides an unprecedented window into the good, the bad, the unusual, and the forgotten history of Byberry.
The images in this collection come from the Swarthmore College Peace Collection, Philadelphia City Archives, Pennsylvania State Archives, the Special Collections Research Center of the Temple University Libraries, the Library Company of Philadelphia, PhillyHistory.org, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, and the personal collections of former staff members, among others.
Book Reviews and Interviews:
Chanel Carrasquilla, Bloomsburg: The University Magazine, “Online Exclusive”
Dan Geringer, Philadelphia Daily News, “New Book Delves into Terror at Byberry Hospital”
Ethan Wallace, Hidden City Philadelphia, “Two New Books Provide a Fitting Eulogy to Byberry State Hospital”
Patrick Rapa, Philadelphia CityPaper, “What Did We Learn From Byberry?”