For teen readers, high school teachers and librarians, New York Times bestselling author and two-time National Book Award finalist Laurie Halse Anderson needs no introduction.
Since the publication 20 years ago of her groundbreaking novel, Speak—in which a teenage girl becomes isolated in the aftermath of her rape—Laurie has become known for the unflinching way she writes about, and advocates for, survivors of sexual assault. To date, her many books for young readers have sold more than eight million copies combined.
Laurie was selected by the American Library Association for the 2009 Margaret A. Edwards Award and has been honored for her battles for intellectual freedom by the National Coalition Against Censorship and the National Council of Teachers of English. Her novel Chains was a finalist for the prestigious Carnegie Medal. She regularly speaks about the need for diversity in publishing and is a member of the leadership council for RAINN, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. , opens a new window
Now, in her new memoir, Shout, she speaks to teens and adults alike about #MeToo, #TimesUp, and what has and hasn’t changed in the past two decades. Written in free verse, the book is a collection of reflections, rants, and calls to action woven between deeply personal stories from her life that she's never written about before.
In a rave review, The New York Times says that with Speak, Laurie “opened the door for more novels exploring the deeply felt and deeply personal aftermath of sexual violence.” and that Shout "serves as both a testament to the life-altering, lifesaving impact of these types of stories – and as an urgent and brutal reminder of their ongoing necessity.”
When her book tour brought her to Cincinnati, I was thrilled that she invited me to talk with her about Shout in front of a packed house at Joseph-Beth Booksellers. And even more honored that she made the time to stop by “Inside the Writer’s Head.” In this episode, we talk about writing tough truths, letting stories find their form, and much more.