In this episode, the best-selling YA author, Nic Stone, revisits two childhood faves: Louis Sachar’s classic 1998 novel, Holes, and Jeffrey Eugenides’ The Virgin Suicides – two books that left their impression on her own career as the author of young adult novels that center the stories of Black youths, so long absent in fiction. Best known for her 2017 debut, Dear Martin, the story of Justice McAllister, a Black Ivy league bound teenager, trying to make sense of a world that insists on seeing him as a criminal, her books are driven by a need to tell stories about the lives of adolescents, complicated by race and sexuality in ways that reflect her own coming of age in 1990s Atlanta. It was at Spelman College, a historically Black liberal arts college for women when, Stone says, she finally found a sense of self that gave her the confidence to become a writer: “I feel that at Spelman, I got the message that I had value because I exist. If I didn’t exist, there would be nothing for me to contribute to the world. But the fact that I exist means that there are things that I have to give that nobody else can give. I think that’s something that everybody should internalize.”
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