By The Associated Press
Two leading young adult authors have a seven-figure deal to write a pair of novels centered on Black, queer characters.
FSG Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, announced Feb. 15 that George M. Johnson and Leah Johnson (no relation) will write two romantic comedies, starting in 2025 with “There’s Always Next Year.” The story is set around New Year’s Day and tells of two cousins looking to get their lives, romantic and otherwise, back in order.
“There is an African proverb that states ‘If you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far go together.’ That is what the collaboration experience has been with Leah Johnson. As Black queer people, we are much more powerful when we combine our writing, creativity, and world build as authors together,” George M. Johnson said in a statement.
“If the book is even half as fun to read as it was to write, then brace yourself,” Leah Johnson said. “As books about queer folks continue to face bannings and challenges across the country, writing a book that’s rooted in joy about the way we love one another feels like a liberatory act.”
George M. Johnson is the author of “All Boys Aren’t Blue,” a bestselling “memoir-manifesto” from 2020 that has also appeared on the American Library Association’s annual list of books most frequently challenged by community members or banned. Leah Johnson’s “You Should See Me In a Crown” also was released in 2020 and the following year was Reese Witherspoon’s first choice for her Young Adult Book Club. Time magazine has listed it as among the 100 best young adult books of all time.
“My hope is that by continuing to put this type of work out in the world, and being loud and visible queer authors, we can affirm to young people everywhere that their stories do now, and will always, matter,” Leah Johnson said in a statement.