So, you may have seen on my Twitter or Instagram that I had the amazing privilege of meeting Angie Thomas, author of The Hate U Give. I was so surprised to see that she would be coming to the UK – maybe I’ve been looking in the wrong places, but I’m not sure any of my favourite American YA authors have done a UK tour.
This event was organised by Art Against the Grain and Walker Books, and included a Q&A with Angie Thomas and two members of the UK Black Lives Matter, as well as performances from young people of colour. A special shout-out has to be given to Angie’s interviewer, Rakeem Omar, who was absolutely hilarious and had some fantastic suggestions for who could play Starr and her family in the upcoming film.
I took a quick video of the Q&A of Angie talking about why she writes YA, and how kids today are becoming real activists. – I wish I could have filmed it all.
— whatthelog (@whatthelogsaid) April 8, 2017
Angie herself was delightful. As you can see from the video, she is funny, erudite, and unafraid to speak her mind. She ended the night with a great message – that what she wants people to take away from The Hate U Give is that empathy is better than sympathy. After reading the novel, I can definitely see where she’s coming from.
I mean, there’s really not much I can say here that people haven’t already said. The Hate U Give gives a depiction of black youth and black neighbourhoods that is rarely seen in YA fiction.
Starr is incredible. It was incredibly interesting to hear Angie talk about the certain aspects of Starr that were based on her own life – for example, leaving the house in her car listening to Tupac, and arriving at her (mainly white, middle-class) school listening to the Jonas Brothers.
I urge you – if you haven’t read The Hate U Give yet, pick it up now. It is extraordinary, and I have no doubt that that Angie Thomas is going to continue to publish amazing, life-changing books in the future.