It’s the 28th of April, and Magonia is out in the world! I’ve been waiting so long to share this book with you, and man, I’m very excited. I’m currently about to get on a plane on the way to Chicago for the first event of the Epic Reads Spring Tour, with Katie Cotugno (99 Days) and Susane Colasanti (City Love). Event schedule here: We’ll be in Chicago, Oakland, Vegas, and Nashville over the next week, and then on the 6th of May, 6:30pm I’ll be at McNally Jackson in NYC with Nova Ren Suma (The Walls Around Us) and Camille DeAngelis (Bones & All) talking about weird fiction, ghosts, cannibals, ballerinas, and skyships. I’m ridiculously excited for all of it, and especially to meet some of the people who’ve been reading Magonia already, and sending me their wild eyes and giddiness. I mean…HOW BEAUTIFUL IS THIS LIFE? Pretty beautiful!
Feast your eyes on this beauty too – it’s the official trailer. EEEE!
Magonia’s full of powerful women, both on earth and in the sky, because hello! I want a world in which women get credit for their accomplishments. I want a world in which women and girls are treated equally, are safe, and are respected. This shouldn’t be too much to ask, because it’s basic, but every day on Earth, massively biased things happen to women. It fills me with rage, and it also fills me with even more appreciation for the courage, skills, and ferocity of women in the face of a world that often treats us like we’re nothing.
In Magonia, women are captains of ships, pirates, fighters, commanders of fleets, and fierce sailors and singers. On Earth, the women are pretty hard core as well. Aza Ray, the main character, is a bright brain in a failing body, and she’s been fighting for her life her whole life, while simultaneously consuming the world in all its complexity and glory. Her mom is a respected immunologist. Jason, the other main character, has two badass moms, one who’s a doctor, and one who is a botanist.
Why? Because my life is full of women like that.
We are so much more than nothing. We – each of us – are changing the world daily.
When my agent Stephanie Cabot (who regularly goes on massive international walking expeditions, has a dairy farm in NH, and simultaneously sells books across all genres), sent my amazing editor Kristen Pettit (who just won an award for her gun control activism while being a mom of two and an Executive Editor of bestsellers) this book, we’d already taken a few leaps of faith. This is my first YA book, and it’s a crazy, wild ride, but both these women believed in it. And then…more did.
So…when I went into my first meeting at my new publisher’s office, there were about 40 loudmouth women in the room, Kristen & me, along with HarperChildrens’ President and Publisher, Susan Katz; Associate Publisher & Editor-in-Chief Kate Morgan Jackson, and Editorial Director Jennifer Klonsky. This ship had a bunch of Captains. We all worked together. Everyone was miraculously onboard, and we sailed forth into the world of Magonia.
In that meeting, we talked about everything I’m talking about today, and we raised our fists in the air to the good fortune of being on such a great voyage together.
So, today, lifelong loudmouth that I am, and lifelong appreciator of the achievements of the many astonishing women I know – and the ones I don’t, I want to have a public celebration of the women and girls in your lives who are captains of their own ships. Join me!
#SheIsTheCaptain is the hashtag, and today I’ll be tweeting (from my account @MariaDahvana) some of the accomplishments, achievements, and glories of the women I know, alongside those of the women in history and in the world to whom I raise my champagne glass on the regular. I wouldn’t be here, writing these books, selling imaginary countries, without the many blazing imaginations I’ve been privileged to encounter.*
I know there are women and girls you’d like to salute. We are the captains of our ships and lives, and all the women I know have rocked the world in so many ways. Was your grandma amazing? Is your best friend? How about your daughter? How about that one girl you knew in 9th grade who was fearless and inspired you to raise your hand when you knew the answer, instead of waiting for someone else to do it first? Tell us about them. Tell us about about the women scientists and writers and activists who inspire you, about everyone from Amelia Earhart to Aphra Behn, from Toni Morrison to Angela Carter to LaVerne Cox, to your great aunt the saxophonist, to your doctor, to your baker. Anyone. (And anyone is welcome to join in – you don’t have to be a girl or woman to do so.)
Let’s give it up for everyone from the rockstars to the acapella singers, the glittering to the invisible, the glorious to the notorious. Let’s give it up today for the women and girls who are the captains of our ships. #SheIsTheCaptain
(Thank you for listening! Thank you for reading Magonia! Thank you for letting me be a person who publishes stories! It’s a privilege to get to do this for a living!)
*Note. As always here, women & girls means everyone who identifies as a woman, or as a girl. I do know that not all people who identify as women use the “she” pronoun. I don’t mean at all to be exclusionary. This has to do with the gnarliness of a hashtag orphaned from its context. I’m about to get on a book tour plane, so I fear that happening without me being able to weigh in. So, I promise, I mean no exclusion. Come join! Tweet about the women in your life who are non-binary. You’re welcome here! I just couldn’t figure out a better wording for the hashtag in the 140 character medium. I want you to join in. Please do!