Biography of Angie Thomas

Angie Thomas claims that before the publication of The Hate U Give, her greatest accomplishment was an article about her teenage rapping career published in Right-On magazine. The Hate U Give certainly knocked that accomplishment out of the park—it was a #1 New York Times Bestseller, acquired by the Balzer + Bray branch of HarperCollins publishers after a bidding war between 13 publishing houses. Since its publication, the book has received starred reviews from eight literary journals—a particularly high number for a young adult novel. Publications such as The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly have referred to the book as “required reading,” and a film adaption starring Hunger Games actress Amandla Stenberg is in the works.

Angie Thomas was born, raised, and still resides in Jackson, Mississippi. In an interview, she recalled witnessing a shootout between two drug dealers at a local park. The next day, Thomas’s mother took her to the library to show her that “there was more to the world than what I saw that day.” Thomas has a passionate interest in race-related activism; she was inspired to right The Hate U Give in the wake of news coverage about the police shootings of unarmed black people as young as 12. In addition, Thomas saw that blackness is often portrayed in a negative light, and that the perspective of young black women is typically omitted from the national dialogue on police brutality and racial profiling—even though these women are frequently affected.

Thomas holds a BFA in Creative Writing from Belhaven University. She is the inaugural winner of the Walter Dean Myers Grant from the activist group We Need Diverse Books. Like her novel’s protagonist Starr Carter, she is a fan of Tupac, sneakers, and Harry Potter.

Study Guides on Works by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas’s first novel, debuted as number one on The New York Times bestseller list when it was published in February 2017. Thomas developed the novel from a short story she wrote for her senior project in Belhaven University’...

Published in 2019, On the Come Up is a fictional teenage poverty novel that explores the life of an aspiring rapper who lives in a poor neighborhood and is perceived as a hoodlum by most of the people she knows. Her father, who was also a rapper,...