"Q&A With Mahogany L. Browne: Chlorine Sky"

"Q&A With Mahogany L. Browne: Chlorine Sky"

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Author: Mahogany L. Browne

Author Bio:

"Mahogany L. Browne is the Executive Director of JustMedia, a media literacy initiative designed to support the groundwork of criminal justice leaders and community members. This position is informed by her career as a writer, organizer, & educator. Browne has received fellowships from Agnes Gund, Air Serenbe, Cave Canem, Poets House, Mellon Research & Rauschenberg. She is the author of recent works: Chlorine Sky, Woke: A Young Poets Call to Justice, Woke Baby, & Black Girl Magic. As the founder of the diverse lit initiative, Woke Baby Book Fair. Browne's latest YA PROJECT: Vinyl Moon will be released January 2022, following the success of her first novel in veered: Chlorine Sky. And Browned latest poetry collection responding to the impact of mass incarceration on women and children:  I Remember Death By Its Proximity to What I Love (Haymarket Books), will be released September 2021. She dreams in Brooklyn, NY."

1.  Growing up, did you read any children’s books that instilled values in you? If so, which ones were your favorite?

My favorite childhood books are definitely the Ramona series and Babysitters Club! They reminded me that the imagination and the power of she is vital and do not have to be separated to be valid. I also love the BSC series because it gave me a foundation for how friendships can become and how our mutual love and respect for being bawses are also perfect sandboxes! 

2.  What was your writing process like for Chlorine Sky?

My writing process was pretty intense. At first it was a free for all. Then it was printed and I looked at it like "WHAT AM I SAYING?" So then I went back and every line mattered. Every moment mattered. It's a lot of jump cuts (as they say in film) to show the lapse between time and it mattered to me. Because friendships are not linear. They are built off of what we learned from our families and growing up. Sometimes our friends serve as family and we transfer those memories and traumas into this new space. So writing it required me to be a part of that journey all over again. For better or for worse.


3.  As Chlorine Sky is a teenage coming-of-age story that highlights self-identity, did you have any similar experiences growing up and how do you think your literary works help those in that space of finding out who they really are?

I did have some of the experiences that you read in Chlorine... I always witnessed a lot of it too. Then and now. I wanted the writing of the stories to be a light bender. I want to reflect beauty and refract as much pain as possible. Sometimes that is loftier than it seems. But the idea that it helps get some of the poison out is what brings me back to the page. 

4.  Why is it important for you to tell stories that have main protagonists of color?

Because BIPOC has been put into such small spaces with little understanding outside of our own communities that we are worthy. Worthy of being written about. Worthy of being celebrated before death. Worthy of being mundane and alive and having our entire names spelled correctly. Black. Indigenous. Asian. Latinx. All these voices deserve to be read. All these stories deserve to be remembered.



Places To Find More From This Author:

Instagram: @mobrowne

Twitter: @mobrowne

Facebook: Mahogany L Browne


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