I regard June as remarkably insightful and adept at critiquing creative fiction and non-fiction, resulting in giant steps forward in the quality of the writings submitted to her. And by the way, she's a lovely, caring person, very easy and fun to work with
Working with June is working with a professional. The time and effort she puts into reading and re-reading work, typing up reports, and focusing on structure and language that can be strengthened, gives the writer tools to edit and rethink their work. I am truly indebted to her for her insights and constructive suggestions.
I worked with June Leavitt, meeting with her every two weeks for about a year on two projects. The first was a historical novel that I have worked on and off for many years. June worked with me on the first nine or ten chapters helping me to put feeling and personality into my characters and to strengthen altogether the narrative. We also worked on a short story that I began decades ago and then put aside for many years. June helped to understand why the story was important to me and to find a way to express in the story itself. The story became transformed into a story with much more feeling and with much stronger writing.
Including Pudding Lane to Pie Corner, Seven and Twenty Stories, and Words, Wacky Wayward and Weird.
During more than three years of my participation in Dr. June’s creative writing group, I am constantly impressed by her acumen and conscientiousness in providing helpful criticism, her suggestions for the improvement of technique and her dedication to the art of good writing.
Writing can be a lonesome journey, but June is here to ride the winds with you!
From the moment I stepped into my first session with June, I knew she was no ordinary writing teacher, from one simple act: she did not sugarcoat my writing abilities,
rather pointed out what needed to be improved while still congratulating me on my current feats.
This helped me set realistic expectations of myself and her as my writing teacher, and helped me narrow down what needed fixing. In fact, within a few pages of my manuscript that I had sent her prior to our first encounter, she nailed down my biggest writing obstacles and helped me create a strategy that could change my flaws into skills.
Each lesson was in depth, and prepared based on my specific challenges and goals, and one glance at the lesson and you knew it took June three times longer than the length of the session to prepare it. Unbelievable. I can’t remember the last time that a class was curative for me. June prepared exercises from simple to complex, and made me execute these in real time, allowing me to explain my thought process. I was taken aback when she whipped out a dozen books with excerpts ready on hand regarding the session’s topic. I found this to be such a breath of fresh air, because June’s class isn’t just her showing you her solution, but other authors’ solutions, which can help you create your own.
This exceeded my expectations of standard writing teachers who print out general templates that barely scratch the surface and won’t always be appropriate for each students writing journey.
Her class includes very interesting homework exercises (I wrote my first ever short story) and will keep you on your toes so you’ll always be productive outside of her class. If that wasn’t enough, June had an answer to almost every question I had and provided unconventional solutions which I’ve never heard anywhere else.
She is the writing teacher I always had been looking for but never managed to find.
June Leavitt’s unique mix of editing skills and creative genius makes her a highly receptive and insightful reader of fiction and non-fiction. Whether you are new to writing or an already published author, June’s sensitive and constructive feedback can bring your writing to the next level. Her commitment to the writing enterprise is loving and wholehearted and inspires the same in her workshop participants.
Storm of Terror:
A Hebron Mother's Diary
Leavitt, who grew up in a wealthy Jewish family on Long Island, emigrated to Israel in 1979, where she lives with her husband, three sons, and two daughters. Her deeply moving diary begins on September 30, 2000, and ends on February 15, 2002. The author, a teacher, worries about her children: one daughter takes part in riots in which her sister, a soldier, has to help quell. She fears that the family could be injured or killed while riding in a bus or a car, or even in their home. She recalls going to the funerals of friends and neighbors who were killed by terrorists and not being able to sleep because of the noise of gun battles. After one night of fighting between Israelis and Arabs, she observes: "I am no longer in a clear frame of mind. I am mindful only of bullets, hatred, fear, and not knowing." Leavitt, who has written previous books in four languages, presents a searing account of living in a land without peace. --George Cohen, American Library Association
"A deeply moving diary.... A searing account of living in a land without peace."- Booklist
"Because of the times in which we live, it is a terrifying book to read. This is June Leavitt's diary of her life and family in Israel." -Lee D. Fitzgerald, Roanoke Times
"She chronicles the events of the two and a half years with faultless accuracy, her keen writer's ear and eye recording each horrendous detail." -Jewish News of Greater Phoenix
A moving and beautifully written family portrait of the complexity, the humanity, the danger of everyday settler life on the West Bank." -Robert Lipsyte, New York Times columnist.
"The surprise and value of Leavitt's book lie in its ability to complicate all the conventional images of settlers."
"Extremely readable, even magnetic...a truly powerful work, beautifully constructed and written...her writing borders on the poetic."-Jerusalem Post
"This book achieves its most intense and revealing moments because Leavitt resolutely stays with the daily details."—-Moment
"Dynamite. I was hoping something like this would come out of all that madness." -John Underwood
"The real power of the narrative is its honesty."-Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles
Other Reviews of Storm of Terror: A Hebron Mother's Diary
Tom Brokaw Nightly News, "A Hebron Mother's Diary," Nov. 19, 2002.
New York Daily News , Book Excerpt. "A Mother's Fear." Sunday Oct. 27, 2002, 40-41.
Newsday Part 2 Cover story. "A West Bank Mother's Diary." Oct. 9, 2002. B 6-B8
Mitch Albom Show, ABC Radio. "June Leavitt: A Hebron Mother's Diary." Oct. 24, 200