On the Come Up: Angie Thomas's 2019 BGHB Fiction and Poetry Honor Speech

Friends, homies, and everything in between, 

I am so sorry that I cannot be there with you tonight. When I got the news that On the Come Up was a Boston Globe–Horn Book honoree, I was stunned. Yes, even after everything I’ve experienced, I still get stunned. The last time I saw you, I was surprised that a book inspired by Tupac was being honored. This time, I’m surprised that a book about hip-hop is being honored. This confirms my suspicions: the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award is Dope, with a capital D

[Read Horn Book reviews of the 2019 BGHB Fiction and Poetry winners.]

To the committee, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Had teenage Angie the rapper known that such a prestigious group would honor a book meant for kids like her, it would’ve told her that kids like her deserve to be honored. I hope this does the same for all the brilliant Bris of the world. So often, these young people are made to feel as if they are too much or not enough. My job as an author is to tell them that they’re perfect as they are. When you acknowledge books meant for them, you tell them the same. So, on their behalf, thank you. 

I would like to thank my publisher, Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins; my phenomenal editor, Donna Bray; my incredible agent, Brooks Sherman; and every single person who has devoted time and effort to help Bri find her way in the world. She wouldn’t be brilliant without you. 

Next time I see you all, we have to turn up. (That means celebrate, for those who don’t know.) Stay lit…erary. 

With all my love, Angie.

From the January/February 2020 issue of The Horn Book Magazine. For more on the 2019 Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards, click on the tag BGHB19. Read Angie Thomas's 2017 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award speech for The Hate U Give.

Angie Thomas
Angie Thomas

Angie Thomas received a 2019 Boston Globe-Horn Book Fiction and Poetry Honor Award for On the Come Up and is the winner of the 2017 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Fiction and Poetry for The Hate U Give (both Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins).

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