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Erin Entrada Kelly: Subtlety and economy in her writing

Author Erin Entrada Kelly believes it’s important to also write about the more subtle emotions, decisions, and events that happen in life and not just the big, loud moments.

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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.


“All writers have their own style, and it took me a while to figure out what my style was. And for whatever reason I had it in my head when I was younger that that the best writers are overly metaphoric, and you know, incredibly verbose, and uses these long flowing sentences. But the more that I would write I realized that my style is a little bit more… I don’t know what what the word would be, but maybe economical. It feels like a very cerebral word, but we’ll use that. I like to think of my writing style as subtlety. By that I mean my goal in in my books and a lot of the books that I like to read, I really appreciate the value of subtlety. What I mean by that is life is full of all these little happenings, you know, It’s not often that there’s big happenings. There’s usually little steps that that we take every day, every hour, every moment that kind of change and navigate the course of our lives. And because they are not these big, huge events, sometimes our reactions to them in life are to them in life are settle. We may not even understand what’s going on. There are moments in “Hello Universe” when Virgil cries out for help, and it’s it’s a kind of a big, loud moment. But a lot of the book is kind of peppered with more subtle feelings of emotion, and anticipation, or nervousness, and all these little things that we experience in life. So my goal as a writer is to bring those things forward, so that people can relate to those emotions that are happening on the page. Even the little small moments that life is made of.”