Writer Spotlight:  Marie Arnold

Writer Spotlight: Marie Arnold

The year I flew away - Marie Arnold

With the Writer Spotlight Series, we create a positive image for Black girls to refer to, by having conversations with different writers and illustrators. This month we have been doing Q&As with many writers, to get to know more about them and their work. Here, we are showcasing all the questions we have asked Marie Arnold the author of The Year I Flew Away. You can find more book reviews in our new issue, available to buy here.

When did you decide to become a writer? 

I think I was always creating stories in my head. It never occurred to me that other people didn’t do the same. There wasn’t any one particular moment, it was just a given for as long as I can remember. 

Congratulations on your first debut novel. Can you summarise the story of your debut book The Year I Flew Away?

The Year I Flew Away is a story about a little Haitian girl named Gabby, who comes to America to stay with relatives. She has a diffcult time fitting in and makes an unwise deal with a witch so that she can become more “American”. 

If The Year I Flew Away  was made into a movie, which celebrities would star in it?

What a fun question! I’m not sure in terms of actors, but I am a huge fan of Guillermo Del Toro. He’s my dream director for a project like this.

Who is your favourite character in the story, and why?

Rocky the Rat. He is full of life and has his own drama going on. He’s fun to write.

What was your favourite book as a child?

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No good, Very bad day. 

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?

"Do not judge your writing as you write. Allow yourself the space to write anything you want with no judgment".


The year I flew away

The Year I Flew Away
By Marie Arnold
HMH Books

About the author 
Marie Arnold was born in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti and came to America at the age of seven. She grew up in Brooklyn, New York alongside her extended family. Marie enjoys creating stories full of adventure, and wonder, which centre on girls of colour.


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