YA: Memoir Keynote

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George M. Johnson
We Are Not Broken, Saturday, October 23 | virtual

George M. Johnson is an award-winning Black, Non-Binary writer, author, and activist located in the NYC area. They have written for major outlets including Teen Vogue, Entertainment Tonight, NBC, the Root, Buzzfeed, Essence, Ebony, THEM, and the Grio. They have also served as guest editor for BET.com’s Pride month. In 2019, they were awarded the Salute to Excellence Award by the National Association of Black Journalists for their article "When Racism Anchors your Health" in Vice magazine. And, in 2020, they were named to the Root 100 Most Influential African Americans. Their debut YA memoir, All Boys Aren't Blue, was published in 2020. Their next YA memoir, We Are Not Broken, was called "an intensely emotional, stunning read" by Publishers Weekly in a starred review. Johnson is also a proud HBCU alum twice over, and a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated.

Nicholl Montgomery
Saturday, October 23 | virtual

Nicholl Montgomery is a PhD candidate at Boston College and a lecturer in the children's literature department at Simmons University. This spring, she was a judge for the 2021 Boston Globe–Horn Book awards.


Screenwriter and activist George M. Johnson’s 2020 book All Boys Aren’t Blue was a “memoir-manifesto,” offering young people, especially queer Black boys, a testimony of Johnson’s own adolescent experiences blended with reflections on gender identity, consent, toxic masculinity, and Black joy. Their new memoir, We Are Not Broken, is similarly both deeply personal and emphatically universal, as the author explores the close relationships between them, their brother, and their cousins, all growing up under the loving, wise, no-nonsense guidance of their grandmother, known as “Nanny.” Under Nanny’s eye, George and their cousins become aware of racial injustice, George embraces their queer identity . . . and they all grasp on to their abiding, fierce love for one another. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly calls We Are Not Broken “an intensely emotional, stunning read.” In this keynote session sponsored by Simmons University, Johnson will discuss their memoir with Nicholl Montgomery, a lecturer in children’s literature at Simmons.

Donations made during registration or during the session will go to support the Boston Book Festival's Shelf Help Partnership, providing brand-new books and an author/illustrator visit to Boston-area public schools. This year's recipient schools are Josiah Quincy Elementary School in Chinatown and Chelsea High School in Chelsea. Thank you for your support!

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