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Erin Entrada Kelly: Winning the Newbery

Author Erin Entrada Kelly talks about winning the Newbury Award for her book, Hello, Universe, and how it impacted her life and the way she viewed herself as a writer.

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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.


Winning the “Newbery” changed my life over the course of a few seconds. As soon as they made the announcement at the Youth Media Awards press conference my email, my phone, my text, my social media exploded. And I was working full-time at the time as a copy editor. And within a few weeks I was able to leave my job, and now I am a full-time author. And I also teach at Rosemont College. I teach children’s literature in the Graduate MFA, and publishing programs there, and it has allowed me to really travel, and visit book festivals, talk to kids, you know. “Hello Universe” and “You go First” which was released and maybe like a month in a half after the Newbery announcement. They were both on the New York Times bestseller lists. So it was absolutely life-changing. It still doesn’t get rid of the imposter syndrome. So a lot of people say, “Oh, well you won the Newbery now you feel validated.” But I don’t think anything ever really gets rid of that. But it has been life changing in a lot of incredible ways. The little, quiet, writer girl inside me read books and then dreamed about being a writer is very impressed. But she’s still in, there she’s still in there and she’s still quiet, and did she’s still living in her head, but she’s not quite as alone as she used to be.