On this episode of “Literary Arts: The Archive Project,” we feature a Portland Book Festival event with two prominent young adult novelists whose work appeals to readers of any age.
Ellen Hagan’s novel in verse, “Don’t Call Me a Hurricane,” explores the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy on a New Jersey shore community through the perspective of Eliza, who is fighting to protect her home from development while navigating the lingering trauma of the storm and the climate crisis—plus the additional crisis of having a crush on her should-be enemy, a rich summer tourist.
In “Meet Me In Mumbai,” Sabina Khan interweaves the stories of Ayesha, who finds herself eighteen years old, far from her home in India, in love for the first time… while pregnant and facing a huge decision. Seventeen years later, Ayesha’s daughter Mira, is searching for information about her history when she finds a box of letters from her birth mother. Mira yearns for more connection to her Indian heritage, but must decide if she’s ready to learn the whole truth about her past.
Both novels feature young characters making big decisions and grappling with the consequences their own choices—as well as the aftermath of the world they are born into—as they find their way. The past is present in both storylines, in ways that ring true for readers of all ages.
Our panel moderator is Portland writer and editor Megan Savage.
Ellen Hagan is a writer, performer, and educator. She is the author of “Reckless, Glorious, Girl” and the co-author with Renée Watson of “Watch Us Rise.” Her poetry collections include “Blooming Fiascoes,” “Hemisphere,” and “Crowned.” Her work can be found in ESPN Magazine, She Walks in Beauty, and Southern Sin. Ellen is the Director of the Poetry & Theatre Departments at the DreamYard Project and directs their International Poetry Exchange Program with Japan, South Korea and the Philippines. She co-leads the Alice Hoffman Young Writer’s Retreat at Adelphi University. Raised in Kentucky, she now lives in New York City with her family.
Sabina Khan is the author of the YA novels “Meet Me in Mumbai,” “Zara Hossain is Here,” and “The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali.” She is an educational consultant and a karaoke enthusiast. After living in Germany, Bangladesh, Macao, Illinois and Texas, she has finally settled down in beautiful British Columbia, Canada, with her husband, two daughters and the best puppy in the world.
Megan Savage is a multi-genre writer who has taught courses including Creative Writing, Editing & Publishing, and Children’s Literature at Portland Community College since 2008. At PCC, she serves on the Steering Committee for the new Carolyn Moore Writing Residency. She holds an M.F.A. in Fiction Writing and an M.A. in English from Indiana University where she was Fiction Editor of Indiana Review. Her own writing is influenced by themes and images from children’s literature, fairy tales, and folklore, and can be found in such places as the Routledge anthology, Pandemic of Perspectives: Creative Re-Imagining, the “More Devotedly” podcast, FE: A Fonograf Editions Magazine, and Hunger Mountain #25: Art Saves.