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Author of the Week: Angie Thomas

Angie Thomas

Angie Thomas, 31, is an American Writer born on the 20th of September, 1988. Born and bred in Jackson, Mississippi, she resides there till date.

In 2017, she published the first of her most notable works, The Hate U Give.

The Hate U Give exploits really powerful themes such as racism and police violence and carefully details the intricacies of black people trying to fit into white communities and even among their pairs.

Thomas shared in an interview how she picked influences from her experiences and the things going on around her at that time.

She explained how Oscar Grant’s story played a vital role in her book. While she was still in college, Oscar Grant had just lost his life in Oakland, California. Like many others, he was an unarmed young black male who had a record and at the time when his death was making headlines, more people were talking about what he had done in his past than the fact that he unjustly lost his life. Two major conversations surrounded his death among two classes of people: those that believed he deserved it and those that saw him every single day and knew him for who he truly was.

In that time, Angie Thomas wrote a short story that later widened in scope to become The Hate U Give while she was still a senior in college.

Not just Oscar, but a lot of the cases of police brutality involving unarmed young black males provided the inspiration and material for the book. There was Philando Castille, 32, killed in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, after being pulled over for a traffic stop (his girlfriend and her 4-year-old daughter were there to witness the incident unfold), Stephon Clark, 22, who was standing in his grandmother’s backyard, killed a year after the book was written, Botham Jean, 26, killed while seating on his sofa at home, eating icecream, also killed in 2018. The list goes on and on.

In the end, the book comes to sensitize the public on these things and teach us that our voices matter. What we do, how we stand for others when they come face to face with oppression and injustice means everything. It was such a powerful book.

Little wonder that within a very short time, The Hate U Give gathered so much acclaim, gained prominence and bagged a well-deserved number 1 spot on the New York Times Bestseller list for young adult hardcover books.

It remained on the bestseller list for more than 125 weeks.

Her book The Hate U Give was eventually adapted into a movie and released on the 19th of October, 2018.

The book won several awards within the year it was published. These include the William C. Morris Award, the Michael L. Printz Award, and the Coretta Scott King Award among many others.

Two years later, Angie Thomas pushed out another gift to the world, On The Come Up. In 2021 comes yet another gem, Concrete Rose, from the 31-year-old American author.

One thing is for sure, Concrete Rose will be nothing short of a blissful read.

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