American writer, Angie Thomas was born on 20th September 1988 in Jackson, Mississippi. She grew up near the home of assassinated civil rights activist Medgar Evers and her mother reportedly heard the fateful gunshot. Aged 6, Angie Thomas herself witnessed a shootout. Angie’s mother took her to the library to show her that “there was more to the world than what [she] saw that day,” and this inspired Angie Thomas to later become a writer.
During her time at college, Angie Thomas also heard about the shooting of Oscar Grant in the news, and this alongside the death of many other young black people including Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, and Sandra Bland were a major influence when she channelled this anger into her début novel, The Hate U Give.
Before writing The Hate U Give, Thomas had been exploring the fantasy genre but worried these stories would no matter. A college professor helped steer her, suggesting that her personal experiences were unique and that she should consider writing stories of people have been silenced or ignored.
The Hate U Give was originally written as a short story and then published as a full-length Young Adult Novel in 2017, becoming number one on the New York Bestseller list within a week of its release. A year later, The Hate U Give film adaptation was also released.
Following the success of The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas returned to Garden Heights to explore the life of another young black girl and her friends, family and neighbourhood. On the Come Up was published in February 2019 and tells the story of Bri, who is living in a post-Khalil time and wants to make it into the Hip-Hop music business. Thomas has stated that this novel is her rebuttal against all the people who have tried to ban and censor The Hate U Give.
To celebrate Angie Thomas’ birthday, we’ve chosen some of our favourite, powerful quotes from her début novel, The Hate U Give.
“What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?”
“’Brave doesn’t mean you’re not scared, Starr,’ she says. ‘It means you go on even though you’re scared. And you’re doing that.’”
“You can destroy wood and brick, but you can’t destroy a movement.”
“To every kid in Georgetown and in all “the Gardens” of the world: your voices matter, your dreams matter, your lives matter. Be roses that grow in the concrete.”
“Good-byes hurt the most when the other person’s already gone.”
“People are realizing and shouting and marching and demanding. They’re not forgetting. I think that’s the most important part.”
“People like us in situations like this become hashtags, but they rarely get justice. I think we all wait for that one time though, that one time when it ends right.”