Naia – Helen K. Thomas

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2020 Jack Straw writer Helen K. Thomas’s project is a collection of short stories that feature Black girl protagonists from the Pacific Northwest. In her conversation with curator Anastacia-Renée, they discuss Young Adult fiction and expanding representation of young Black girls in those stories. “To be a part of that and to choose to be a part of that is something that I don’t take lightly and is something that I really, really honor because . . . I see how it’s changing the world. And I see how it’s creating compassion. And I see how it’s really moving the dial forward and moving our culture forward.”

Helen is from Seattle, WA by way of Lagos, Nigeria. She writes Young Adult fiction that illuminates the interiority of black girls as they navigate joy and pain and love and loss while living in the Pacific Northwest. Recently, she was part of the inaugural Tin House YA Fiction Workshop and is thrilled to be a 2020 Jack Straw Writers Fellow.

SoundPages was produced by Jack Straw Cultural Center as part of the Jack Straw Writers Program. All of the writers heard in this series are published in the Jack Straw Writers Anthology, and featured online at www.jackstraw.org. Music by SassyBlack, produced as part of the Jack Straw Artist Support Program.

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