The peripatetic nature of her career—teacher, bookstore owner, magazine editor, political campaign staffer, musician, writer—is a testament to Barbara Burt's sense of curiosity and yen for exploration. The connecting link throughout has been an urge to hear and tell stories, to seek understanding through open communication.
In 2002, Burt was honored with a PEN-New England Discovery award in young adult fiction for her novel Burn Each Page. Other works for children include Colonial Life: The Adventures of Benjamin Wilcox. Her work on the acquisition of narrative language at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education informs her writing, for example, directly in her contributed chapter in Chameleon Readers: Teaching Children to Appreciate All Kinds of Good Stories, and indirectly in the way she approaches the art of storytelling.
Drawing on her experience as an orchestral musician and her love of Maine, Burt recently began a music-centered mystery series set in Maine, the first title of which is Dissonance. Set at a fictitious summer music festival in coastal Maine, the novel explores the conflict between a nonprofit arts board and its musicians, wealthy summer people and locals, a besotted suitor and the former girlfriend he betrayed, and a young woman’s faith in her own detective skills and the obvious fact that someone close to her committed a heinous crime.