This blog post was written by Mara McCollom, Girls Write Now Communications Intern
At our 2015 Girls Write Now Awards held on May 19, we celebrated four women writers and thinkers who are leading the way for the next generation of writers. By now, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s call to forget likability has gone viral, but we have more gems to share from these amazing women, including their best read as a teen:
Pamela Paul, New York Times Book Review editor, spoke with us about how everyone has a story tell and how she’s been keeping a journal of every book she’s read since she was 17.
Juju Chang, co-anchor of ABC News’s Nightline, talked about how growing up in the tech-oriented Silicon Valley inspired her to focus on storytelling, and what she’s learned from singer Ed Sheeran.
Mariane Pearl, journalist and author of A Mighty Heart, pointed out that stories are everywhere, even if we overlook them, and how one of the most important things we can do in our generation is help young women find their voice.
We’re always interested in hearing what our favorite inspiring women were reading as teens, and we were lucky enough to add our four Girls Write Now Awards honorees to our Read Write Now project, which collects and lists the books that shaped women writers, artists, and activists as teenagers.
Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie shared with us that the British children’s writer Enid Blyton was important to her growing up. Mariane Pearl fell in love with Victor Hugo’s passion. In the spirit of the evening, Pamela Paul reminded us of Madeleine L’Engle’s classic A Wrinkle in Time, which she had loved as a girl because it had “a strong female heroine.” And for all our science fiction lovers, Juju Chang identified the Star Trek series as her favorite childhood books. “It’s not the classiest, but it’s real,” she told us. She became obsessed when she was 13 years old because she loved the characters, the adventure, and the world to which it transported her.