Today I am here to share my experience attending this event! #SpoilerAlert it far exceeded my expectations!
As per usual, I am going to share a few things I learned from this event in bullet form. Enjoy!
» Women Writing for a Change were the sponsors of the event. WWfaC is an organization that offers specialty classes & writing circles.
» Laurie was wearing red converse, black pants, and a black t-shirt with “Read books. Drink coffee. Fight evil.” on it. She’s basically my fashion icon.
» Laurie doesn’t like the term “trigger warning” and she instead likes to say “a note of care and concern”. Due to the sensitive nature of her books, Laurie told the audience that if anyone needed a mental health break to please take one & that she did have tissues in her purse should anyone need one.
» Laurie read a poem from Shout, which the last line felt so powerful: “she’ll unwind the truth by unbuttoning her mouth.”
» When asked what has changed since Speak was published in 1999, Laurie responded “not enough” in regards to sexual violence and rape culture. She did say that we’ve made progress in other areas like sexual & gender identity.
» Laurie said that it is so hard to be a teenager these days. There are so many different ways to be hurt because of social media.
» The first publisher that Laurie sent Speak to rejected it. That publisher came up to her at an event later and said that they made a big mistake in not publishing it.
» Laurie feels that sex positive & consent based sex education is so important. Sex education is especially important for young boys. Young boys are watching porn as early as 11, but it is the really harmful porn that they have access to.
» When asked why she finally decided to write Shout 20 years after publishing Speak, Laurie answered that it was time to speak her own truth. After the backlash to the #MeToo movement, Laurie was driven to write Shout, her “memoir manifesto.”
» Laurie is a former “silent girl.” She was raped at the age of 13 in a park by a friend of a friend. It took her 23 years to seek therapy for her PTSD & depression she suffered as a result of her rape.
» Laurie recommends RAINN (Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network) as a resource for victims. RAINN has hotelines & discussion forms.
» 90% of victims of sexual violence under the age of 18 know their attacker. This number drops slightly to 75-80% when the victim is over 18.
» When asked what her hope for Shout is, Laurie responded that she hopes it is a conversation starter. There are so many people with a story to tell, but not enough people telling them. As angry as Laurie is, she’s hopeful for the new generations. She feels those under 35 are kinder, more accepting, and want to make the world a better place.
» Shout is written in verse. Laurie decided to write her memoir this way because she feels “poems are either a hug or a punch to the gut.”
» Laurie recommends following & reading the books of author & activist Jaclyn Friedman. Jaclyn is author of Unscrewed: Women, Sex, Power, and How to Stop Letting the System Screw Us All and Yes Means Yes!: Visions of Female Sexual Power and A World Without Rape .
Laurie Halse Anderson is a New York Times bestselling author whose writing spans young readers, teens, and new adults. Combined, her books have sold more than 8 million copies. She has been nominated three times for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. Two of her books, Speak and Chains, were National Book Award finalists, and Chains was short-listed for the prestigious Carnegie medal. 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.
In addition to combating censorship, Laurie regularly speaks about the need for diversity in publishing. She lives in Philadelphia, where she enjoys cheese steaks while she writes. Find out more about Laurie by following her on Twitter at @halseanderson, Instagram at halseanderson, Facebook at writerlady, and Pinterest at halseanderson.
Have you read any of Laurie Halse Anderson’s books? If so, which ones & what did you think?
Have you ever had the opportunity to hear Laurie speak at an event?
Comment below & Let me know 🙂