Photo credit: Nina Subin

We are so pleased to welcome New York Times bestselling author Meg Wolitzer to the Penguin Teen Author Spotlight today! You may know Meg from her brilliant, beloved adult novel The Interestings, which pubbed to great acclaim last year, or from her many other wonderful books, and she’s back today with a new YA that will make you think, make you feel, and make you wonder. Belzhar has already received a rave review from the New York Times, an A- from Entertainment Weekly, and early praise from advanced readers! We could go on, but we know you’d rather hear about Belzhar straight from Meg, so let’s get to it!

Name: Meg Wolitzer
Novel:  Belzhar
Available: 9/30/14

Who’s your favorite author, living or dead? 

Virginia Woolf, who wrote Mrs. Dalloway and To the Lighthouse, neither of which I appreciated until I was in college, but then it was like a light had been turned on in me.

What’s your favorite thing about your book? 

Being able to be there as my main character Jam finally comes to terms with what’s happened in her past. (How’s that for deliberate vagueness and lack of spoilers?) I was so invested in her history, even though I had created it.

If you could spend one year on a deserted island with one character from literature, who would you choose?

Harriet the Spy would be a good companion. (Though she’d probably write about me.)

Where do you write?

On my bed, on my couch, in coffee shops, in airports when I travel.  My favorite place would have to be hotel rooms.

Who is your favorite hero or heroine of history? 

Anne Frank.

Do you tweet? What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever tweeted? 

I am a reluctant tweeter.  (Hey, that sounds like a title.)  Though I once tweeted a photo of my dog’s black and white tail on the birthday of a writer whose hair looked very similar.

What is your favorite season? 

Fall.  I still feel like I’m about to start school, and there’s a hopeful feeling that seems to include beginnings, and the smell of pencils, and the possibility of new friendships.

If you could teleport anywhere in the known universe right now, where would you go? 

I think maybe I’m supposed to answer a planet, but the truth is: Italy.

Do you have any writing rituals? 

Yes, I drink a lot of Japanese iced green tea when I work.  And play online Scrabble as a reward for being productive.  Excuse me now while I start a game…

What is your idea of earthly happiness?

A great writing day, followed by a wonderful dinner with friends and family. It’s pretty simple, really, and yet absolutely happy.

What is the best concert you’ve ever been to?

Prince sang at a party I once went to. That was cool.

What are you currently working on? 

A new novel, naturally.  (Bring on the green tea and the online Scrabble…)

………..

Yay, thanks Meg! We know we’ll love the next book as much as we adore Belzhar. Want to know more about Belzhar? Visit our Belzhar Tumblr to see all the cool fan art and photos early readers have submitted, and tell us your own secret. What will you discover in Belzhar? There’s only one way to find out. 

Follow Meg on Twitter and Facebook and find out more about her and her books on her website!

Add Belzhar to your “to read” shelf on Goodreads, or better yet, go ahead and buy it right here

In honor of the JUST ONE YEAR paperback release tomorrow. Now that the universe has gifted us with our perfect Adam in Jamie Blackley, we’re using the Secret to ask for our perfect Willem! (What can we say? We’re greedy like that.) 
And for those of you who’ve already read JUST ONE DAY and JUST ONE YEAR, the JUST ONE NIGHT e-novella is the stuff of your dreams. Read it now, thank us later.  High-res

In honor of the JUST ONE YEAR paperback release tomorrow. Now that the universe has gifted us with our perfect Adam in Jamie Blackley, we’re using the Secret to ask for our perfect Willem! (What can we say? We’re greedy like that.) 

And for those of you who’ve already read JUST ONE DAY and JUST ONE YEAR, the JUST ONE NIGHT e-novella is the stuff of your dreams. Read it now, thank us later. 

This is the library where John wrote a lot of TFIOS Sorry for the blurry picture, I had to be quick and iPads just don't take quick pictures Yes I know it's not THE Oranjee but it's the only thing I could find with a similar name

phampants:

hankgreensmoustache:

I visited Amsterdam recently and took a little TFIOS tour! I started at the library where John wrote some of the book and then went on a hunt to find the places in the book and got to meet another Nerdfighter in the process! 

When I go to Amsterdam, I’ll be doing this.

This is so cool. Anne Fadiman calls it “You Are There reading,” where you read a piece of literature in the location it takes place. Such a fun project!

(via fishingboatproceeds)

Hey John, what is your reaction to the news that the Riverside district has chosen to ban TFIOS from middle school libraries on the grounds that it deals with mortality and sex? I remember your reactions to similar situations concerning your books have been pretty animated and wondered what you thought?

Asked by
as-howarth

fishingboatproceeds:

I guess I am both happy and sad.

I am happy because apparently young people in Riverside, California will never witness or experience mortality since they won’t be reading my book, which is great for them.

But I am also sad because I was really hoping I would be able to introduce the idea that human beings die to the children of Riverside, California and thereby crush their dreams of immortality.

Just another reminder that keeping people from reading books that deal with unpleasant things (like death) does not actually keep them from having to confront the reality of those unpleasant things in life. And also a reminder that this week happens to be Banned Books Week.