Every author has a story beyond the one that they put down on paper. The Barnes & Noble Podcast goes between the lines with today’s most interesting writers, exploring what inspires them, what confounds them, and what they were thinking when they wrote the books we’re talking about.
In this episode of the podcast we talk with the groundbreaking writer Laurie Halse Anderson about her new book, Shout, a blazing work of memoir in free verse. Anderson’s 1999 novel Speak brought readers with unforgettable vividness not the life of high school freshman Melinda Sordino after she is raped by another student. Speak went on to be nominated for a national book award; Anderson followed with a series of equally audacious novels for young adults and younger readers, including a set of award-winning historical novels set during the early days of the American republic. Anderson has spent much of the two decades following the publication of Speak traveling and talking with students about the realities of sexual violence, but in 2017, as the #MeToo movement was surfacing a renewed wave of women’s stories, Anderson realized that she needed to return to writing directly about her own experiences. The result, she told me when we spoke recently, was a very unusual way to start a new book.
Bestselling author Laurie Halse Anderson is known for the unflinching way she writes about, and advocates for, survivors of sexual assault. Now, inspired by her fans and enraged by how little in our culture has changed since her groundbreaking novel Speak was first published twenty years ago, she has written a poetry memoir that is as vulnerable as it is rallying, as timely as it is timeless. In free verse, Anderson shares reflections, rants, and calls to action woven between deeply personal stories from her life that she’s never written about before. Searing and soul-searching, this important memoir is a denouncement of our society’s failures and a love letter to all the people with the courage to say #MeToo and #TimesUp, whether aloud, online, or only in their own hearts. Shout speaks truth to power in a loud, clear voice– and once you hear it, it is impossible to ignore.