Matt de la Pena

In this week’s episode, Matt la Peña shares how explores how he went from being a non-reader as a kid to becoming a writer and author as an adult, which involved falling in love with Sandra Cisneros’s The House on Mango Street. Brooke and Grant talk with Matt about #ownvoices, the power of YA to effect meaningful change in readers’ lives, and the experience of being a working-class writer.


Matt de la Peña is the New York Times Bestselling, Newbery Medal-winning author of seven young adult novels (including Mexican WhiteBoy, We Were Here, and Superman: Dawnbreaker) and five picture books (including Love and Last Stop on Market Street). In 2016 he was awarded the NCTE Intellectual Freedom Award. Matt received his MFA in creative writing from San Diego State University and his BA from the University of the Pacific where he attended school on a full basketball scholarship. Matt recently moved back to San Diego from Brooklyn and currently lives in San Diego.

The Takeaway: How to Show Up as a Working Writer

A lot of people think showing up as a working writer means working a 9-to-5 job. But in reality, that’s not the case, or certainly doesn’t have to be. Writing a little bit every day can make a huge difference, and seriously move the needle on your writing goals. We hear a lot about how people talk themselves out of things. So here’s an idea: talk yourself into something. Start small. Do it regularly. Be consistent. You’re a writer—and being a working writer can unfold in a lot of different ways.

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