Arts & Culture

Women’s History Month: Astounding Author Ellen Hopkins

Tayana Osuna, Arts & Culture Editor 

Fiction and poetry are two of my favorite genres, so it is no surprise I highly admire and treasure Ellen Hopkins’ work. She takes poetry and turns them into riveting fiction stories. This way of writing makes for one-of-a-kind storytelling that absolutely encapsulates me with every page, line and word. The stories she shares are so raw and real that at times they can be hard to read, but it doesn’t stop me from wanting more.

It is Women’s History Month, and in light of that I would like to share with the Augsburg community one of my favorite female authors: Ellen Hopkins. 

Hopkins was born in Long Beach, California, where she was adopted at birth, and spent most of her life in southern California. On her website, Hopkins shares that she won almost every creative writing contest she entered through high school. Writing has always been a major part of her life, and that is evident in her writing. However, didn’t start taking it seriously until after she moved to Nevada in her mid-40s where she started freelancing newspaper and magazine articles. She then went on to write children’s nonfiction and published 20 titles before she sold her first novel. 

Aside from writing, she owned her own publishing company that contained a newspaper for children. She also taught part time as an artist-in-residence and was an instructor for the Institute of Children’s Literature. In 2006 she received the Silver Pen award from the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame and was then positioned as a full member in 2015. She has won an immeasurable amount of awards for her novels, including #1 New York Times bestselling author for her books “Crank,” “Burned,” “Impulse,” “Glass,” “Identical” and “Tricks.” 

Her books highlight teen struggles with addiction, mental illness, physical/sexual abuse, suicide, I mean the list goes on. Hopkins often writes about her own experiences within her family or from her friends. One of her most beloved series, consisting of “Crank,” “Glass” and “Fallout,” are about her daughter’s struggle with addiction and how her relationship with her daughter has “disintegrated completely,” as Hopkins stated in her online journal. The Crank Series is from the perspective of Hopkins’ daughter, but she has noted to her readers that the book isn’t just about her daughter, it’s about herself and their family. She used the novel as a personal journey to “try and understand what had happened to six years of [her] life.” 

I absolutely adore this author. Her writing has made me feel things that I never thought I could feel. I’ve been reading her books since I was about 11 years old, and I have not been the same since. Her books are filled with such intensity, warmth, passion, heartbreak, longing and dread. She shows us the beauty in what we fear most and does it in a way that is so incredibly breathtaking. Ellen Hopkins is truly an inspiration, even if you are not particularly interested in poetry.