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Novelist Kiley Reid ’10 Publishes Debut Novel, “Such a Fun Age”

January 02, 2020
  • Kiley Reid '10
    Tamara Gajic for The New York Times
The MMC alumna’s novel, officially out December 31, 2019, has drawn significant praise for its discussions of the intersections of race, class, and transactional relationships.

Set in Philadelphia, Such a Fun Age follows young black babysitter Emira, who is unfairly accused of kidnapping her two-year-old charge, Briar, and the subsequent reckoning with issues of class, money, and race. The novel explores transactional relationships, what it means to make someone “family,” and the complicated reality of adulthood. 

“A striking and surprising debut novel from an exhilarating new voice”-Penguin

In a New York Times profile on Reid, the new author discusses her own experience as a nanny in her twenties, as well as the concept of selling emotional labor and the impacts of capitalism on human relationships:

“‘I definitely started from wanting to explore the awkwardness of transactional relationships — but also bigger themes of ownership, from the small petty ones like ‘Oh, well, she’s our sitter’ or ‘I knew him, so he’s mine,’ to the awkward history of black women raising white children in this country. That just comes flooding back, no matter whether you like it or not, in certain interactions.’”

An Acting major and minor in Religious Studies at MMC, Reid recently finished her MFA at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop where she was awarded the Truman Capote Fellowship.

Last fall, Such a Fun Age was quickly purchased by Emmy-award winner Lena Waithe’s production company, Hillman Grad Productions. “I didn’t just want to let it go”, says Reid, who is currently working on the novel’s screen adaptation. “I wanted to be a part of the process, for sure. Lena Waithe is someone who wants to create opportunities for people of colour – she really puts her money where her mouth is when it comes to bringing on new voices.”

Many, many congratulations, Kiley!