Angie Thomas

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Angela Thomas
Born (1988-09-20) September 20, 1988 (age 31)
Jackson, Mississippi, U.S.
OccupationWriter
LanguageEnglish
NationalityAmerican
Alma materBelhaven University
GenreYoung Adult Fiction, Middle Grade
Notable worksThe Hate U Give (2017)
On the Come Up (2019)
Website
www.angiethomas.com

Angie Thomas (born September 20, 1988)[1] is an American young adult author, best known for writing The Hate U Give (2017). Her second young adult novel, On the Come Up, was released on February 25, 2019.

Early life[edit]

Angie Thomas was born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi,[2] where she still resides today.

Thomas was subjected to multiple instances of gun violence at a young age. She grew up near the home of assassinated civil rights activist Medgar Evers, stating that her mother heard the gunshot that killed him.[2] When she was six years old, Thomas witnessed a shootout.

In an interview with The Guardian, she recounted how her mother took her to the library the following day to show her that “there was more to the world than what [Thomas] saw that day.” This inspired her to take up writing.[3]

In her adolescence, Thomas shared her skills as a rapper, although her career in music was short-lived. She was, however, the subject of an article in Right On! magazine.[4][5] Thomas went on to obtain a BFA[6] from Belhaven University, a private Christian college in Mississippi.[7] She was the first black teenager to graduate in creative writing.[7]

Career[edit]

Thomas' initial intention was to write fantasy and middle grade novels, however she was worried that her stories would not matter. While querying her first manuscript, she began another that would soon turn out to be her first novel, The Hate U Give.[8] While she was a college student, one of her professors suggested that her experiences were unique and that her writing could give a voice to those who had been silenced and whose stories had not been told.[2] During this time, Thomas also heard about the shooting of Oscar Grant on the news.[3] This story, compounded by the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, and Sandra Bland, were major influences on the novel.[3]

Thomas cites Tupac Shakur as inspiration for her writing.[9] She has felt a wide range of emotions when listening to his music, and wanted to achieve a similar effect as a writer, saying, "I want to make you think at times; I want to make you laugh at times; I want to make you cry at times – so he was an influence in that way."[9] She has explained that the title The Hate U Give was inspired by Tupac's THUG LIFE tattoo, which was supposedly an acronym for "The Hate U Give Little Infants Fucks Everybody."[9] Thomas understands that to mean, "that what society feeds into youth has a way of coming back and affecting us all."[9]

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Thomas stated that she aims to "show truth and tear down stereotypes" in her writing, and further says that it is important for the white community to listen to the grievances of the Black Lives Matter movement. After its publication, The Hate U Give was adapted into a 2018 film of the same name by Fox 2000, starring Amandla Stenberg.[7][4]

Activism[edit]

In an interview with Publishers Weekly, Thomas gives insight on her role as an activist, “I’ve always seen writing as a form of activism. If nothing else, books give us a glimpse into lives that we may not have known about before; they can promote empathy. There is the movement Black Lives Matter and the organization Black Lives Matter, and I respect what both are doing. I know [The Hate U Give] is an “issue” book, but I didn't necessarily want it to be that way... I wanted to make something that is so political seem personal. While I wanted Khalil to represent these young men who lose their lives and are quickly labeled thugs, I wanted [the plot of the book] to be its own thing. I didn't want to disrespect anyone's family, anyone's memory.”[10]

Works[edit]

The Hate U Give (2017)[edit]

The Hate U Give, originally written as a short story, debuted at number one on the New York Times Best Seller list for young adult hardcover books within the first week of its release in 2017.[2] The Hate U Give was written, as Thomas says, to bring light to the controversial issue of police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement.[2] The book's plot follows a teenage girl, Starr Carter, and how her life is impacted by the death of her friend, Khalil, an unarmed black teen shot by a white police officer. The Hate U Give deals with the effect of police brutality on the communities of those around the victim.

In 2018, the Katy Independent School District in Katy, Texas removed the book from its shelves after complaints over profanity,[11] and a South Carolina police union requested the book's removal from a school's summer reading list, because of what the union considered "almost an indoctrination of distrust of police."[12]

On the Come Up (2019)[edit]

Thomas' second book On the Come Up was released in February 2019. Thomas wrote the book so she could discuss the costs tolled on minorities and women when they do speak-up.[13] The book tells the story of a teen rapper who becomes a viral sensation and the way that this distorts and changes who she is. It takes place in the same fictional universe as The Hate U Give.

The book was a bestseller.[14]

On December 11, 2019, Thomas shared on Twitter that Kay Oyegun, producer of This is Us, has been recruited to write the screenplay for the film adaptation of On the Come Up.

Thomas has tweeted multiple times about the process of writing her third book.[15]

Accolades[edit]

Angie Thomas has received several major awards for her work, including:

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Angie Thomas [ USA ] – Biography". internationales literaturfestival berlin. 2017. Retrieved 2018-01-09.
  2. ^ a b c d e Philyaw, Deesha (2017-03-14). "One-on-One with 'The Hate U Give' Novelist Angie Thomas". Ebony. Retrieved 2017-11-09.
  3. ^ a b c Hirsch, Afua (2017-03-26). "Angie Thomas: the debut novelist who turned racism and police violence into a bestseller". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-09-04.
  4. ^ a b Keane, Erin (2017-03-04). "'The Hate U Give': Angie Thomas' sensational debut novel should be required reading for clueless white people". Salon. Retrieved 2017-09-04.
  5. ^ "FAQ". Angie Thomas. 2016-04-28. Retrieved 2020-02-05.
  6. ^ "The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas, 2017 National Book Award Longlist, Young People's Literature". nationalbook.org. Retrieved 2017-11-09.
  7. ^ a b c Mesure, Susie (2017-04-11). "New YA sensation Angie Thomas: 'Publishing did something pretty terrible. They made the assumption that black kids don't read'". The Daily Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2019-03-14.
  8. ^ "The Post. No, seriously, THE Post ~ Angie's Writing Adventures". 2019-02-07. Archived from the original on 2019-02-07. Retrieved 2020-02-05.
  9. ^ a b c d "'The Hate U Give' Explores Racism And Police Violence". NPR.org. Retrieved 2017-11-16.
  10. ^ www.publishersweekly.com https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/childrens/childrens-authors/article/72805-q-a-with-angie-thomas.html. Retrieved 2020-02-05. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. ^ Locke, Kaitlyn (2017-12-02). "'The Hate U Give' pulled from Texas school district's shelves". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2019-03-14.
  12. ^ Flood, Alison (2018-07-03). "South Carolina police object to high-school reading list". The Guardian. Retrieved 2019-03-14.
  13. ^ Arreola, Cristina. "'The Hate U Give' Started A Conversation. Angie Thomas Hopes It Continues With Book Two". Bustle. Retrieved 2019-03-29.
  14. ^ "Young Adult Hardcover Books - Best Sellers - April 7, 2019 - The New York Times". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-03-29.
  15. ^ Thomas, Angie (2020-02-02). "Did you know that there is an extinct volcano under the Mississippi coliseum in Jackson? Oh, this book is going to be soooo much fun hahaha. #amwriting #amwritingMG #LiteralBlackGirlMagic". @angiecthomas. Retrieved 2020-02-05.
  16. ^ "We Need Diverse Books Announces the winners of the 2016 WNDB Walter Grants". We Need Diverse Books. 2016-12-05. Retrieved 2019-03-14.
  17. ^ "2018 Morris Award". Young Adult Library Services Association. Retrieved 2019-03-14.
  18. ^ "Michael L. Printz Winners and Honor Books". Young Adult Library Services Association. Retrieved 2019-03-14.
  19. ^ "A Great Day for CSK!". CSK Blog. Retrieved 2019-03-14.
  20. ^ "Geraldine McCaughrean scoops second CILIP Carnegie Medal 30 years after first win and champions triumph of 'literary' fiction". The CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Awards. Retrieved 2019-03-14.
  21. ^ "Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2018". Waterstones. Retrieved 2019-03-14.
  22. ^ "Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis für Roman über das Aufwachsen in der DDR". Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk. Retrieved 2019-03-14.

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