Meet the Presenter: Brendan Kiely

I first met Brendan Kiely on Twitter. I knew of his work, notably the New York Times Bestselling All American Boys, which he co-wrote with Jason Reynolds. But when I saw him getting out of an elevator in in Rochester, New York (I was there moving my oldest into a dorm room), I was too shy to say hello. So I did what shy writers do: I tweeted him.

And he was gracious and kind and told me that the next time we crossed paths, I should say hello. Little did I know how soon that next time would happen: I met him for real at the Solstice Low Residency MFA Program, where I was an MFA candidate and he was a new faculty member, teaching Writing for Young Adults.

In the short time I’ve known Brendan, I’ve been consistently awed by his enthusiasm for words, for writers and for people. He’s excited to talk about writing and books, he’s eager to encourage writers to work on their projects, and he’s willing to have conversations about subjects silly and serious. He’ll be leading two sessions at our Writers Conference: Writing for Young Adults and Writing Place, both on Friday, Nov. 18. 

Brendan has been quoted as saying, "...for me, writing fiction is an act of social engagement. I want my work to participate in relevant cultural conversations." That commitment is evident in his most recent book, The Other Talk: Reckoning with Our White Privilege. In addition to being on the faculty of our Writers Conference, Brendan will be in conversation with local student Tahraji Milsap on Thursday, Nov. 17. We invite both students and parents to attend.

More about Brendan, via his official bio:

Brendan Kiely is The New York Times bestselling author of All American Boys (with Jason Reynolds), Tradition, The Last True Love Story, and The Gospel of Winter. His most recent book is The Other Talk: Reckoning with Our White Privilege. His work has been published in over a dozen languages, and has received the Coretta Scott King Author Honor Award, the Walter Dean Meyers Award, and ALA’s Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults. A former high school teacher, he is now on the faculty of the Solstice MFA Program. He watches too much basketball and reads too many books at the same time, but most importantly, he lives for and loves his wife and son.

Learn more about Brendan on his website or follow him on Twitter.

-- written by Lisa Allen, adult services information specialist