Hub Talks: Angie Thomas

New York Times No1 bestselling author of one of the young adult books of 2017, Angie Thomas comes back to Birmingham.


On the Come Up by Angie Thomas is the highly anticipated second novel from one of the literary voices of a generation. The award-winning author of The Hate U Give returns with a powerful story about hip hop, freedom of speech – and fighting for your dreams, even as the odds are stacked against you.


New York Times and Amazon UK best selling author Angie Thomas is back in Birmingham! Celebrating the publication of her second book On The Come Up, Angie will once again be delighting readers with a new heroine.

This time with 16 year old Bri. Angie writes about Bri… “Her story is my love letter to those black girls who are often made to feel as if they are somehow both too much and not enough in a world that makes wrongheaded assumptions about them. Through Starr’s journey, I hoped to inspire them and other young people to use their voices. With On the Come Up, I hope to inspire them to continue to speak even when society doesn’t like the way they do it. Freedom of speech isn’t necessarily free, especially when you’re young and black.

This novel is also a love letter to hip-hop. When I couldn’t find myself in books, I found myself in the rhymes written by MCs who looked like me and shared my experiences. These unconventional poets were my heroes, and are the heroes for millions of young people…Hip-hop is her sword and, ultimately, her dreams are her shield.”


Angie will be in conversation with Rakeem Omar, plus there will be live performances from Lady Sanity and Afro Queen.


<<< TICKETS>>>

This event will take place in Studio 5 at Birmingham Hippodrome and tickets are now on sale via the Box Office at Birmingham Hippodrome. Do book soon as we know this will be a very popular event!




More about On the Come Up:

On the Come Up is the highly anticipated second novel from one of the literary voices of a generation.

The award-winning author of The Hate U Give returns with a powerful story about hip hop, freedom of speech – and fighting for your dreams, even as the odds are stacked against you.

Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. As the daughter of an underground hip hop legend who died right before he hit big, Bri’s got massive shoes to fill. But when her first song goes viral for all the wrong reasons, Bri finds herself at the centre of controversy and portrayed by the media as more menace than MC. And with an eviction notice staring her family down, Bri no longer just wants to make it – she has to. Even if it means becoming the very thing the public has made her out to be.
Inspired by Angie’s mom losing her job when Angie was a teenager, On the Come Up sheds light on child poverty in the US. Angie says: “Kids like Bri, who are facing homelessness and poverty, become statistics and numbers. Their stories are never told… I want to give those kids more books to see themselves in.”

If you’ve read The Hate U Give then you’ll recognise some of the stories in On The Come Up.

On the Come Up also draws on Angie’s experiences as a teen rapper. She says, “It takes us right back to Garden Heights post Khalil. Buildings are burned, and a struggling community is left in the ashes. Hip hop was birthed from similar conditions in the Bronx … [when] young people used their creativity to make themselves heard and so created one of the most influential cultures of modern history.”


About Angie Thomas: Angie Thomas is the author of the hugely critically acclaimed and bestselling The Hate U Give. She was born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. A former teen rapper, she is the recipient of a Walter Dean Myers Grant, awarded by the We Need Diverse Books campaign. This is Angie’s second novel. You can find her on Twitter or visit her website for updates on her work and events.

The Hate U Give, Angie’s first book has been on the New York Times bestseller list since publication. It was also #1 on Amazon UK, and it has received numerous accolades, including winning the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize and the British Book Awards Children’s Book of the Year. It is shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal. It was named a New York Times Editors’ Choice and a Teen Vogue Book of the Year. It was also voted one of Time Magazine’s books of the year. The Hate U Give was released as a film in 2018 directed by George Tillman Jr., starring Amandla Stenberg, Regina Hall, Russell Hornsby, K. J. Apa, Common, and Anthony Mackie.


More about Rakeem Omar:  Rakeem has had the pleasure of hosting a conversation with Angie on her first trip to Birmingham in 2017 and now is armed with loads of questions on Angie’s new book (as well as what she has been up to since she last visited the city!). Rakeem is an Investigative Journalist, Presenter, and Documentary Filmmaker.  As a Channel 4 Investigative Journalism alumnus, Rakeem aims to share the stories of those from marginalised communities, through documentary storytelling. 

You can also catch Rakeem as a bi-weekly contributor to BBC WM, reviewing the latest in popular culture, television, music, and films. You can follow Rakeem on Twitter here.


More about Lady Sanity: Lady Sanity is Birmingham UK born & bred, rapper Lady Sanity has taken inspiration from talents such as Lauryn Hill, A Tribe Called Quest & Ms Dynamite. The GRM Daily’s 2017 ‘Get Rated’; BMA’s 2018 Best Solo Female; & Urban Music Awards One To Watch 2018 award winner intwines hard hitting flows with Grime, 90s Hip Hop & Jazz influences. Her music touches on many social, mental & bureaucratic issues that have inspired her narrative.
Sanity gained her first festival slot at Glastonbury in 2016, followed by BoomBap Festival, The Great Escape, MADE & Shardfest; as well as supporting Hip-Hop heavy’s KRS-one, Lowkey & Roxanne Shante. During the summer of 2018, Sanity was able to tick another goal off of her list as she embarked on her first UK tour with Punch Record’s (Welcome To My City Tour). The 5 dates covered Manchester-Liverpool- Southampton- London and Birmingham, concluding with a sold out home town headline.

Recently representing her hometown of Birmingham in front of an estimated 1 billion for the Commonwealth Games 2018, Sanity performed for the closing ceremony in Australia. You follow Lady Sanity via twitter here and Instagram here.


More about Afro Queen: Birmingham native Afro Queen blends gentle Neo-Soulesque melodies with vicious 140 flows with a name like that you shouldn’t expect mediocrity and when on the mic, her flows, cadences and tones could very well be royal. It’s no surprise because just like you have to be born into royalty, Afro Queen was born to make music.

Speaking to her, you would be forgiven for thinking that her approach to music could be a little carefree because her attitude to life is so fluid; but it is the opposite. There is a seriousness and certainty that only comes out when she’s creating, and this is what allows her to jump on any song, with any artist, and stay in her pocket.

And when your pocket is so unique, powerful, and purposeful, why would you try to be imitate someone else? That self-assurance is what makes Afro Queen one of the most exciting upcoming recording artists. Her ability to express herself and what’s on her mind is both frightening and enticing because she has so very much to say and you can follow Afro Queen on Instagram here.



Praise for The Hate U Give:









“Angie Thomas has written a stunning, brilliant, gut-wrenching novel that will be remembered as a classic of our time.”  – John Green, author of  The Fault in Our Stars 

“One of the most important books of 2017, no hyperbole, just facts.”  – Nikesh Shukla, writer and editor of The Good Immigrant 

“Every so often the right book comes along at the right time and quite deservedly catches fire. Angie Thomas’ debut young adult novel The Hate U Give is that book.”  – Salon 

“Staggered by power, pain & beauty of The Hate U Give – leaves the mind tingling, like a struck cymbal.”  – Imogen Russell Williams, reviewer for The Guardian 

“Completely gripping, hugely affecting and beautifully written, THUG encompasses race, violence, family and growing up and will surely be remembered as a defining YA book of our time. A must-read.”  – Anna James, The Pool 


#THUG #HubTalks #YA


This event is in collaboration with Birmingham Hippodrome, Writers to Readers, Foyles and Walker Books.



Back to all Events

Event Organizers

Impact Hub Birmingham with Writers to Readers, Foyles, Hachette Children’s & Walker YA

Date & Time

March 5 | 19:00 to 20:30


Studio 5, Birmingham Hippodrome


Entry Fee

Cost for Members: £7.50 (Prices and discounts subject to change. Where applicable, a 6% transaction charge may apply (excl. cash sales in person), postage from £1.50)

Cost for Non Members: £7.50 (Prices and discounts subject to change. Where applicable, a 6% transaction charge may apply (excl. cash sales in person), postage from £1.50).

Updated on 06 February 2019