Skip to main content

Erin Entrada Kelly: Giving voice to quiet characters

Erin Entrada Kelly, award-winning author of Hello, Universe, has to find creative ways to give voice to her quiet characters. She finds ways to combine there introspection with action, keeping the reader engaged and the story moving forward.

This video appears in:

Erin Entrada Kelly

Folktales, Fantasy, Fiction

Erin Entrada Kelly

Erin Entrada Kelly is the author of chapter books for tweens and teens, including Hello, Universe — winner of the 2018 Newbery Medal. Her books explore coming of age with sensitivity and honesty, dealing with issues such as bullying, building friendships, and feeling like an outsider.


One of the challenges I face as a writer is, because a lot of my characters are quiet shy, introspective, I struggle with how to depict them interacting with their environment. Because when you are quiet and shy oftentimes you’re very interior, and it can be difficult and exhausting for a writer and reader to write interiority without any actual interaction with without any actual interaction with the external world. So I think a lot about that and sometimes I’ll change the point of view. So in “Hello Universe,” one of the characters Valencia’s point of view is first person view is first person, because she’s interacting with the reader. And with… with Virgil he has a very important person in his life that he interacts with. But it can be…it can be a challenge. And one of the things that I love about writing longhand is that it allows me to cross things off, and put new thoughts, and thought bubbles, and write little notes to myself. And those are things you can’t really do on a computer. So I feel like that experience even makes it more textured and three-dimensional of bringing the story forward and working through some of those challenges.