Fun facts about me: I live in New York City now, but I grew up in a middle-of-nowhere town in upstate New York. My father was a butcher, and his father was a butcher, and I was trained as a butcher, but our butcher shop went down the toilet when I was 17 and our town was eaten alive by Wal-Mart. Since then I’ve been a vegetarian (check me out on NPR, telling Scott Simon of Weekend Edition all about the butcher shop and how awesome my dad was). I had an eating disorder when I was a teenager, which is where my novel THE ART OF STARVING came from. I used to be the guitarist in a punk rock band, and then a painter’s model (here’s a painting of me, and here’s one of me at 18 (five feet high!), both by the amazing Taylor Harbison). In high school, I was named Most Valuable Swimmer on our swim team… because I was the only swimmer… because everybody else got kicked off. I watch way too much television. Joan Rivers made fun of me once. I got married in a guerrilla wedding under the tyrannosaurus rex at the American Museum of Natural History.
My work has been nominated for the Nebula Award and World Fantasy Award and Crawford Award and Locus Award and Theodore Sturgeon Award and the World Science Fiction Society Award for Best Young Adult Book, was long-listed for the Hugo Award and James Tiptree Award, and has won the Shirley Jackson Award and the Andre Norton Award for Best Young Adult Novel. I’ve also been in fifteen+ “Best Of” anthologies (but who’s counting?). I’m a proud graduate of the 2012 Clarion Writers Workshop and a member of the phenomenal SFF writers group Altered Fluid.
My debut young adult novel THE ART OF STARVING (HarperTeen) was one of NPR’s Best Books of 2017, and got nominated for four different awards! My not-young-adult novel BLACKFISH CITY (Ecco/USA; Orbit/UK) was an Entertainment Weekly “Must Read”!
My fiction has been translated into Croatian, Czech, French, Hebrew, Mandarin, Polish, and Russian.
Together with the brilliant Aviva Briefel, I co-edited Horror After 9/11, a critical anthology published in 2011 by the University of Texas Press, which was included in the “Brilliant/Lowbrow” quadrant of New York Magazine’s famed “Approval Matrix.”
Check under “Stories” for some of my work, including links to the ones that are available online.
When I’m not trying to smash the system via somewhat-subversive stories, I’m trying to smash the system by organizing poor people to fight collectively for social justice. For the past thirteen years, I’ve been an organizer at Picture the Homeless, building towards the homeless revolution. I’ve played a part in organizing billions of amazing protests and events there, and I coordinated the writing of a major report that was required reading in urban planning courses at Columbia University—and was banned in New York State prisons. I’m also a member of the Community Funding Committee of the North Star Fund.
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Click for hi-res versions!! Photo credits: Kalyaní-Aindrí Sánchez (left, right) & Sam J. Miller (center)