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Debut Novel - SUCH A FUN AGE by Kiley Reid

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 by Kiley Reid


Such a Fun Age is such a fresh voice. It’s a unique, honest portrayal of what it’s like to be a black woman in America today. Kiley Reid has delivered a poignant novel that could not be more necessary.”

Lena Waithe, Emmy-winning writer/producer/actress





In her early twenties, between receiving an undergraduate degree from Marymount Manhattan College and pursuing an MFA at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Kiley Reid spent six years working as a nanny and babysitter for some of the affluent families of New York City’s elite. The experience was life changing for the young African-American writer, shaping and informing her literary voice and ultimately serving as the inspiration for her impeccably timed and exhilarating debut novel.


By turns funny, poignant and endearingly cringe-worthy, SUCH A FUN AGE (G. P. Putnam’s Sons; On Sale: January 7, 2020) is an exquisitely layered tale that digs deep into race relations, privilege, and profiling, while probing the emotional toll on two women destined to alter one another’s lives.


Thirty-three-year-old Alix Chamberlain is a woman confident in her ability to get what she wants, a trait she has turned into a business. The married mother of an infant and a sweetly precocious toddler, Alix recently moved her family from New York City to her Philadelphia hometown to restore sanity to their high-pressure lives. The transition hasn’t always been easy.


As an in-demand seminar speaker on women’s empowerment, Alix seems to have it all: a successful news anchor husband, adorable children, and a burgeoning business, not to mention an impressive townhouse near historic Rittenhouse Square. But Alix feels restless and misses the Big Apple’s energy and excitement, so three days a week she leaves her home and kids behind to ostensibly work on her upcoming book.


Meanwhile, Alix’s daughters are in the capable hands of twenty-five-year-old Emira Tucker, an African American babysitter who Alix tends to underestimate. Calm and attentive if a bit aimless, Emira is a Temple University alum living frugally on what she earns babysitting and working part time at the local Green Party offices. She knows she’ll need to transition into an adult job with health benefits at age twenty-six, but Emira has grown to love two-year-old Briar Chamberlain with a tenderness and protectiveness that surprises her.


So when a security guard in the neighborhood market accosts Emira and Briar with racially charged accusations, Emira takes a fierce stance. The ugly incident triggers a series of events that send shock waves through Emira’s world and the Chamberlain household. A bystander’s video plays a pivotal role in the aftermath, upending everything Emira and Alix thought they knew about themselves and each other. All the players are forced to re-examine motives, attitudes, and assumptions in ways they never imagined, while Alix blindly resolves to make it right. Alix never expected that her meddling would reveal the stickiness of transactional relationships or what it really means to make someone family.


A modern story brimming with piercing social commentary, SUCH A FUN AGE is beautifully nuanced and perfectly paced as it shines a spotlight on society’s ability—or inability—to adapt to a changing world. The result is a big-hearted page-turner full of surprising plot twists, that sparks a critical conversation about race and privilege much needed in literature now.



An Arizona native, Kiley Reid is currently pursuing a Masters in Fine Arts at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop as a Truman Capote Fellow, where she teaches an undergraduate creative writing workshop with a focus on race and class. Her short stories have been featured and are forthcoming in Ploughshares, December, New South, Lumina, which awarded her first place in the 2017 Flash Prose Contest, and others. In Summer 2018, she attended the Cuttyhunk Island Residency as the recipient of the Paul Cuffee Scholarship. SUCH A FUN AGE is her first novel, with film and TV rights already acquired by Lena Waithe’s Hillman Grad Productions and Sight Unseen Pictures.


SUCH A FUN AGE • By Kiley Reid • G. P. Putnam’s Sons

On Sale: January 7, 2020 • ISBN: 978-0-525-54190-5 • Price $26.00

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