On Wednesday I went to an incredibly exciting event! I went to the Angie Thomas event in Manchester! This event was a chance to listen to Angie Thomas answer questions about her latest novel “On the Come Up”, as well as questions about the bestselling novel “The Hate U Give”! At the end of the event there was also the opportunity to meet Angie Thomas and have her sign your books! Here is my recap of the event!
I have been excited for this event ever since it was announced a good few months ago. I bought my ticket as soon as I found out Angie Thomas would be back in Manchester and knew I couldn’t miss the event no matter what! I went to this event with my lovely friends Sarah and Sophie from The Little Contemporary Corner who I sat with throughout the event!
This is easily one of my favourite events that I have ever been to, for many different reasons! Angie Thomas is just one of the most extraordinary authors in the world. She not only captivates you through her stories like The Hate U Give and On the Come Up but also in all of the important things she brings up during events.
Angie started out the event by answering a question about why she writes. She said “I write to make sense of things. I write as a form of therapy. I write to express myself. I write to make mirrors, windows and sliding doors for young people.” I thought this was just such a heart-warming and wonderful way for Angie to describe why she writes.
Angie also answered quite a few questions about how important it is to have black narrative stories and how important it is to bring these stories to people who have never seen themselves in stories before. She said “it is important that our stories are told by us, because anti-blackness is real and anti-blackness is global. To combat that we have a need for black narrative.” Once again Angie discussed important topics with the audience, and it was met with a large round of applause. One of the other things she mentioned during the talk was “after-the-fact diversity” and that she wasn’t a fan of it. Angie made a point of saying that if it isn’t written in the book itself but mentioned later outside the book it isn’t diversity in the right sense. It should be included within the book if someone is gay not said after the book have been out for years (no shade intended!).
Angie also said when it came to writing On the Come Up that she “wanted to write that story that I wanted to read, and I wanted to write.” She also said that she writes YA to make “young people feel validated and celebrated”.
Angie also answered a question from the audience about how it feels to be such a big best-selling author. She said “I expected only black kids would read my books, but I’ve realised recently that I put limited on my books. I didn’t expect so many white kids to tell me how much they enjoyed it. I should have been more open minded, but it’s been a beautiful part of this experience for me.” This for me was so lovely to hear as I grew up in place that isn’t very multicultural. Angie’s book definitely opened my eyes into the discrimination that other people face in their day-to-day life.
Angie also answered quite a few questions on writing, when she started writing and who her biggest influence is. She said, “seeing black authors actively writing and publishing books, people that looked like me from neighbourhoods like mine, made me realise that I could write books.” She also shared this about her biggest writing influence when writing On the Come Up, ” my biggest literary influence is Tupac. Although I studied Biggies rap style a lot. I know they had beef with each other, but that ain’t nothin’ to do with me!”
Towards the end of the event I got to ask Angie a question. One which I have been asking quite a lot recently, how we as readers and bloggers can promote inclusive and diverse books so that they get the recognition they deserve. Angie’s response was excellent, she said “we need more people to buy diverse books and read them. Get them out of the library. That’s the best thing that you can do to help get more diverse books out there!”
Then it came to the book signing part of the event. I love book signings and the event staff made the book signing run extremely smoothly. The queue went down quickly, was organised but you still got to spend time with Angie!
When I got to the front of the queue I discussed with Angie how much her books opened my eyes to the world. Whilst I was meeting her, my friend Kimi who was working the event came over to say to Angie that we met at her first event in Manchester two years ago and that is one of the reasons we are best friends now. Angie had such a lovely reaction to this and said that we all needed a picture together, which we did!
I had such a lovely time at this event and I cannot thank the people who planned it and organised it enough. Thank you so much to Angie Thomas for inspiring everyone in the audience too! I cannot wait to go to more book events in the future!