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Angie Thomas’s novel about racism in the US wins Waterstones Children’s Book Prize

Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give tells the story of a teenager who witnesses the fatal shooting of her unarmed friend by the police.

books Updated: Mar 23, 2018 11:51 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Angie Thomas,Waterstones Children’s Book Prize,The Hate U Give
Author picture by Anissa Hidouk

African-American writer Angie Thomas’s debut novel The Hate U Give has won the £5,000 Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2018. The novel, inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, is the story of Starr, a teenager, who witnesses the fatal shooting of her unarmed friend by the police.

First written as a short story, The Hate U Give takes its title from the late rapper Tupac Shakur. The novel was inspired by a real-life police shooting in 2009. Angry at the death of several black Americans by police officers in 2015, Thomas decided to turn her short story into a full-length novel.

“I want to help people understand why we say black lives matter,” Thomas is quoted as saying in a BBC report.

James Daunt, the managing director at Waterstones, feels Thomas’s book is not just for young adults. “Ours is a children’s prize, but there is no upper age limit to being stunned by beautiful writing of this visceral power. It is an extraordinary achievement, and it triumphs in a year of wonderful quality and creativity in children’s publishing,” The Guardian quotes him as saying.

The Hate U Give has also been nominated for the 2018 Carnegie medal. A movie based on Thomas’s book, starring Amandla Stenberg as Starr (Rue from The Hunger Games movies) is in the works.

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First Published: Mar 23, 2018 11:49 IST