Friday, August 3, 2018

Ibi Zoboi: Writing from Your Own Life

Ibi Zoboi is the author of the 2017 young adult novel American Street, which was nominated for the National Book Award and received 5 starred reviews. Her young adult novel Pride arrives in 2018 and her debut middle grade novel My Life as n Ice-Cream Sandwich will be out in 2019.

Ibi says her writing is a "tall tale to all my real-life experiences."

Ibi tells us stories of her mother and life in Haiti; of her immigration to America at 4 and growing up in Bushwick; of being a teen; of growing into a young woman. She's pulled from her experiences to write stories, but not to tell her specific story.

Ibi immigrated with her mother to America, where her mother could be free to live as a single mother.  At four, Ibi remembers the feeling of leaving Haiti which is infused into the 16-year old protagonist's experience in American Street.

In Ibi's forthcoming middle grade My Life as an Ice-Cream Sandwich Ibi said, "I know what it feels like to look like everyone else but not feel like everyone else." This is what Ibi tapped into when writing the book.

"I'm not telling the stories of the people, I'm using the details of the setting or experience to tell a story...the true details make the story that much more authentic."

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