MT Anderson: YA Visionary

MT Anderson is probably one of the best YA authors currently writing. He’s tackled dystopian society hipsters in Feed and the life of a brilliant slave/social experiment in Revolutionary-era Boston in The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing with equal skill and depth of emotion. He pushes boundaries, and I think he’s done a lot for YA as a genre.

So I was really psyched to see Anderson included in NPR’s Visionaries series. Read the article and listen to the podcast here. One part I especially liked:

“Older teens tend to write to me and say, ‘Thank you for not writing down to teenagers,’ ” Anderson explained. “And then there are the letters from adults who say, ‘This is such a good book, why did you write it for teens?’ And feel like, ‘What, you should write a [expletive] book for teens, is that the idea?’”

I think this is why some YA and children’s writers find major success. Their goal isn’t to write a book “for teens” or to “teach children.” They just write good books that appeal especially to children and teens. If adults like those books too, it’s because they’re good books. Kids and teens deserve books that are held to a literary standard like any book you’d put in the general fiction section.

PS–I also had the opportunity to meet Anderson at an NCBLA event last year. He and lots of other amazing authors were signing books afterward, and I got Anderson’s signature. He was very cool and I had a major inner fangirl moment.

(image: Adam Ragusea/WBUR)

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