Photo courtesy Erin English
The inspiration for Coretta Scott King Honor Award winner Karen English’s latest middle grade novel all comes down to one unforgettable quote.
“We had a housekeeper,” says English, who was born in 1954 and grew up in Los Angeles, “and she pulled me aside one day, when I was about nine, and told me that, if I ever went to Africa, the Africans would kill me, because they didn’t like, in her words, ‘no light-skinned negroes.’
“I didn’t ...
Photo courtesy Ryane Rice
Gin Phillips had no intention of writing summer’s most scintillating literary thriller.
“I wanted to write a book about motherhood,” Phillips says of Fierce Kingdom, the story of a mother and four-year-old son trapped in their local zoo by an active shooter event.
“I was aware it was a faster plot than I normally focus on,” she says, “and I loved the idea of having to tell a story within such tight confines, where there’s literally geographic walls ...
When 13-year-old Sophie LeClerq puts together a look, people notice: she’s the prettiest girl in her Park Slope class. Her African-American mother is a fashion journalist, her French father sends designer clothes, and she incorporates their influences into an eclectic style that shines.
In Chapter 1 of Justin Sayre’s middle-grade novel Pretty, Sophie rocks an Old Navy V-neck with a skirt from Milan, low tops with low socks, and a green rock necklace with white-lace Madonna gloves.
“I know ...
Quips on our radar
Richard Ford will not be reading your tweets, okay?
“I don’t do Facebook, I don’t do social media, because I don’t give a shit." —Richard Ford, author of Between Them: Remembering My Parents, in “Richard Ford Hates Your Tweets” at VICE
“Once upon a time in academic novels, powerful English professors would be mysteriously offed at the Modern Language Association meeting. But now, on their own campuses, we have deans thrown down the stairs, deans betrayed, deans bludgeoned with their own trophies. One dean, from Murder in the Museum ...
Anne Helen Petersen photographed by Charles Aydlett.
When Anne Helen Petersen pitched Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman in 2015, famous female iconoclasts were having a massive moment.
Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck led the box office. Broad City and Girls ruled TV. Serena Williams dominated tennis. And Hillary Rodham Clinton on her way to becoming the 45th President of the United States.
“Originally, I thought, this is so great—there’s all of these women doing what Roseanne did,” says Petersen ...
The picture book Blue Sky White Stars gives new life to Old Glory
To really earn her stripes as a picture book author, Sarvinder Naberhaus submitted several manuscripts, including Blue Sky White Stars, a book inspired by the American flag. She never imagined a superstar would agree to illustrate it.
“I didn’t have any idea that Kadir Nelson would illustrate my book!” says Naberhaus, a former elementary schoolteacher and media librarian whose previous books are Boom Boom,illustrated by Margaret Chodos-Irvine, and Lines,illustrated by Melinda Beck. She describes the experience of ...
Cate Lineberry photographed by Joy Lyn.
Robert Smalls may be the biggest Civil War hero you’ve never heard of. With the blessing of his family and aid of the National Archives, Cate Lineberry aims to restore him to his rightful place in the pantheon of patriots in Be Free or Die: The Amazing Story of Robert Smalls’ Escape from Slavery to Union Hero.
Lineberry is a journalist living in Raleigh, North Carolina. She recently returned to her home state after 20 years in Washington, D.C ...
Quips on Our Radar: The BEA Edition!
(l-r) Actress Gabrielle Union with writer Janet Mock at the People magazine party during BEA. Photo courtesy Jamie McCarthy:Getty Images
“Well, Sen. Franken, I think we really need to address the elephant in the room right out of the gate, which is that we’re all counting on you to save us.” —Mark Maron, author of Waiting for the Punch: Words to Live by from the WTF Podcast, in conversation with Sen. Al Franken (D-Minnesota) on the BEA main stage
“Uh-oh. That’s a bad plan.” —Sen. Al Franken, author of Giant of the Senate
“The most important thing is ...