Brendan Kiely

As a teacher and a writer, I think stories should be entertaining; characters, their desires and conflicts, should always come first—as John Gardner suggested, a writer’s job is to construct an uninterrupted dream the reader experiences from the first to the final page. I strive to write those vivid, memorable dreams, and for me, the dreams I appreciate most are the ones that help me reflect on what it means to be a human being in my society today...

New York Times Bestselling Author

Coretta Scott King Author Honor Award

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A beautiful, searing journey into the American heartland. This book, like an epic road trip, is full of difficult truths, great music, and deeply human companions
Daniel Jose Older on The Last True Love Story
With Reynolds writing Rashad’s first-person narrative and Kiely Quinn’s, this hard-edged, ripped-from-the-headlines book is more than a problem novel; it’s a carefully plotted, psychologically acute, character-driven work of fiction that dramatizes an all-too-frequent occurrence. Police brutality and race relations in America are issues that demand debate and discussion, which this superb book powerfully enables.
— Booklist starred review of All American Boys

Brendan Kiely is The New York Times bestselling author of All American Boys (with Jason Reynolds), The Last True Love Story, and The Gospel of Winter.  Tradition (Simon & Schuster, 2018) is his fourth novel. Kathleen Glasgow raves, “Tradition is a stunning, timely, and deeply poignant novel about the culture of sexual violence. Sure to spark necessary conversations, this is 2018's must-read young adult novel.”

Known for his activism around racial justice, feminism, and intersectionality, Kiely, a former high school teacher, is the kind of YA writer who meets young people where they live, and engages them in the most compelling social issues of our time. Remembering his own introduction to books and reading, Kiely reminisced “Some of my oldest memories are my father taking me for long walks in Cambridge, Massachusetts, going from bookstore to bookstore to bookstore. We did that every Sunday because my mother worked the night shift at Mass General Hospital, so my dad needed to get me out of the house so she could sleep. For me, going to bookstores was kind of like going to church on Sunday mornings.”

His work has been published in ten languages, received a Coretta Scott King Author Honor Award, the Walter Dean Myers Award, the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award, was twice awarded Best Fiction for Young Adults (2015, 2017) by the American Library Association, and was a Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2014.

Originally from the Boston area, he now lives with his wife in New York City.



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Whether in praise songs, appraisals or meditations, the poems of Boy with Thorn embody an ardent grace. Their accomplished structures house a fearless sensitivity. Laurentiis fills history with his ‘crucial blood,’ his ‘stubbornness,’ his ‘American tongue’; and history, in return, fills him with crucial muses (from Auden to Hayden), stubborn ghosts (such as Emmett Till), and manifold expressions of culture (southern, sexual, spiritual). The result is an extraordinary, and ultimately, irreducible debut.
— Terrance Hayes
Rickey Laurentiis’s debut collection is a stunning achievement. Fearless in its intimacy, Boy With Thorn looks at America’s history of violence against the black body, at desire and sexuality, and at the racial tensions in art all through a painfully personal lens.

In his introduction to Rickey Laurentiis’ astonishing collection, Boy with Thorn, Terrance Hayes writes, “This poetry is fluid and assured. It integrates interior and exterior worlds, demotic and eccentric idioms, swagger and humility.” Boy with Thorn (Pitt Poetry Series, 2015) won  the Cave Canem Poetry Prize and the Levis Reading Prize, and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award and the Kate Tufts Discovery award. It was named one of the top ten debuts of 2015 by Poets & Writers Magazine and a top 16 best poetry books by Buzzfeed, among other distinctions. Individual poems have appeared widely, including Boston Review, Feminist Studies, The Kenyon Review, The Los Angeles Review of Books, New Republic, The New York Times, and Poetry; have been anthologized in Extraordinary Rendition: (American) Writers Speak of Palestine, Bettering American Poetry, and Prospect.3's art catalogue Notes for Now. His poems have been translated into Arabic, Spanish and Ukrainian. Laurentiis is the inaugural fellow in Creative Writing at the Center for African-American Poetry and Poetics.

Laurentiis was raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, He received his MFA in Writing from Washington University in St Louis, where he was a Chancellor's Graduate Fellow, and his Bachelors in Liberal Arts from Sarah Lawrence College, where he read literature and queer theory. He lives in Pittsburgh, PA.



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