Artist in Residence: Jason Reynolds
Presented by AIR Serenbe
Jason is 2018 Mulberry Street Focus Fellowship recipient, awarded to an artist whose work explores the experience of childhood and growing up.
Jason Reynolds was tricked into being a writer. For years his aunt would only give him books for Christmas, ranging from Huck Finn, to Moby Dick. Year after year she’d disappoint him with a gift-wrapped book. He’d force a smile, and when no one was looking, Jason would toss that year’s “bad gift” on the shelf with the rest of them. Until the sixth grade, when he discovered poetry. It was then that his world was opened, and he went back and started tearing through all the dusty, stiffened books his aunt had given him, suddenly grateful for every page.
Jason went on to study at the University of Maryland where he earned a degree in English, with a concentration in Writing and Rhetoric. During his graduation, the commencement speaker made it clear in his speech that with an English degree, you could only teach or go to law school, but to be a writer was as far-fetched as they come.
Now, after having published four critically acclaimed books and co-authored another two, Jason was proclaimed “easily one of the most promising of Young Adult novelists in the market today” by NBC. Besides collecting starred-reviews, he is a New York Times bestselling author and was awarded the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent; was a Coretta Scott King Honoree twice, made it to the Time books of the year list, won the Kirkus Award, was a National Book Award finalist, and, in 2017, was an Odyssey and a CSK Honoree, a recipient of the Schneider Middle Grade award, and was named Indies First Spokesperson of the year.
Jason has been reviewed and profiled in The Washington Post, NPR books, Kirkus, Hornbook, School Library Journal, WNYC, Publisher’s Weekly, Poets & Writers, Gawker, mentioned as a standout in the Wall Street Journal, AM New York and Ebony Magazine. Reynolds is on faculty at Lesley University, for the Writing For Young People MFA Program, and currently resides in Washington DC.
Learn more about the AIR Serenbe program at airserenbe.com