The amazing Betsy Bird posted this truly remarkable interview with me on the School Library Journal blog today:
SBBT Interview: The Incomparable Jenny Boylan by Elizabeth Bird
I don’t often host folks who’ve appeared on Oprah, Larry King, The Today Show, and a Barbara Walters Special (just to name a few). Few of the authors I speak to in my interviews have been portrayed on Saturday Night Live by Will Forte. And fewer still are on the judging committee of the Fulbright Scholars. But that’s the thing about Jenny Boylan, you see. She keeps you guessing. You don’t know what she’s gonna do next. Like, say, for example, write a middle grade novel about a boy who, at the onset of adolescence, discovers that he’s turning into a monster. That’s the premise of Falcon Quinn and the Black Mirroron one level. On another level you have a story within a story that I think a lot of kids are going to be able to identify with. Ladies and gentlemen, it is my supreme honor to introduce to you the newest voice in the children’s literary sphere. One, I assure you, that you have not encountered before.
Fuse #8: You are, to the best of my knowledge, the only transwoman to successfully publish a work of children’s fiction with a major publisher in the United States under her own name. To say that you are groundbreaking is to put it mildly, and this is but one of your many accomplishments. You’ve written for numerous periodicals, appeared on multiple television shows, taught creative writing as a professor, and on and on it goes. Care to give us the full background and lowdown on who exactlyJenny Boylan is?
Jennifer Finney Boylan: Well, that makes me sound quite fabulous, I must say. But I guess I just see myself as a storyteller. I know I’m seen as some sort of spokeswoman for civil rights but the only thing I really know how to do is tell stories. Still, that’s a good day’s work, isn’t it?
It’s true that being trans has given me the opportunity to tell a particular kind of story that hasn’t generally been told, at least not by someone trained as a writer, and I’m grateful for that. It seems to me that we can break through to people with stories in a way that we can’t in any other way. My mother has a saying, “It is impossible to hate anyone whose story you know.” And so I have tried to tell stories of people who are…