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June 16, 2015

Kari Anne Roy

By: Rebecca McInroy

K.A. Holt loves middle grade novels and poetry and has a gift for both.

Her novel Mike Stellar: Nerves of Steel won praise from middle grade readers all over the nation. Her poetry shines in her collection Haiku Mama: Because 17 Syllables is All You Have Time to Read, written under the name Kari Anne Roy, is a collection of haikus hilariously bemoaning the struggles and joys of parenting.

In 2010 Holt combined the two genres and started writing middle grade novels in verse. Her first, Brains for Lunch (A Zombie Novel in Haiku?!), followed the misadventures of a preteen zombie dealing with all the romantic challenges of middle school while also being one of the living dead.

Rhyme Schemer follows a middle school bully with a secret passion for poetry. In her forth coming novel in verse, House Arrest, a young boy journals about his struggles through a year of probation and his younger brother’s health crisis.

Holt’s anti-heroes pop with life (even the undead ones). She depicts the emotional and social pre-teen challenges of her young characters with pitch perfect humor and riveting authenticity. She manages to avoid ever condescending to her readers or artificially endowing her middle grade characters with adult takes on the world. She nails the wildly turbulent thoughts and feelings of a 7th grader – and does it in verse.

Holt has a knack for bringing poetry to surprising places. In 2013 Holt and fellow Austinites Jodi Egerton, Sean Petrie and David Fruchter took a love of vintage typewrites and public poetry and formed Typewriter Rodeo. The group can be found at music concerts, museum openings, and SXSW parties banging out spontaneous poems on old school typewriters.

Holt, again writing as Kari Anne Roy, is also a celebrated blogger known for fearlessly diving into difficult issues ranging from abortion legislation to CPS investigations. Her insights are supported by relentless honesty and a wry wit. More than one entry on her blog has gone viral and emerged on the national scene.

It’s a true pleasure to get to sit down with Holt on The Write Up and discuss her craft and career and how she balances daily life, deadlines, and being a mother of three. Join us as we chat about the attraction of writing for a younger audience, her love for underdogs and preteen ne’er-do-wells, and the allure of poetry.



July 2, 2017

Scott Westerfeld

Scott Westerfeld is a bestselling author of books for both children and adults best known for his young adult series Uglies and Leviathan. While on tour with his new graphic novel Spill Zone, Westerfeld spoke with The Write Up host Owen Egerton about monsters, collaboration, teenagers and storytelling. Westerfeld’s recent projects have embraced visual storytelling. From the stunning illustrations […]


May 24, 2017

Dan Chaon

Dan Chaon is the author of three short story collections. His short fiction has received multiple awards including publication in the Pushcart Prize Anthology, Best American Short Stories, The O. Henry Prize stories. Chaon’s first novel Await Your Reply was a national bestseller, and his second novel Among the Missing was a finalist for the […]


April 25, 2017

The Write Up: George Saunders

In this episode of The Write Up, Owen talks to George Saunders about craft, ecstatic empathy, and the afterlife in his new novel Lincoln in the Bardo.   George Saunders is an award winning and New York Times bestselling author of essays, short stories, novellas, and children’s books. His writing has appeared in The New Yorker, […]


May 24, 2016

The Write Up: Juliana Barbassa

In this episode of The Write Up, we talk with prizewinning journalist and nonfiction writer Juliana Barbassa about her book Dancing with the Devil in the City of God: Rio de Janeiro on the Brink depicting the beauty, crime, pressures, and violent paradoxes shaping Brazil’s most vibrant city. Juliana Barbassa has lived and written all […]


March 21, 2016

Amelia Gray

I’ve long been a fan of the beautifully dark and bitingly funny fiction of Amelia Gray. Her short story collections AM/PM, Museum of the Weird, and most recently Gutshot rank among my favorite books to pick up for a quick, smiling nightmare. Her novel Threats digs deeply into grief and melancholy, so deeply that the […]


March 21, 2016

C. Robert Cargill Live at SXSW 2016

Novelist, screenwriter, critic and slam poet C. Robert Cargill sits down with host Owen Egerton at SXSW 2016 to talk about coming up in Austin, the history of scary movies, and advising on the set of Dr. Strange.


January 25, 2016

Kirk Lynn

On this edition of The Write Up we chat with novelist, playwright, and professor Kirk Lynn about the craft of writing, the adventure of theater, and the deep desire to abandon society and escape into the wild. We also discuss his debut novel Rules for Werewolves. Lynn began writing prose in college, but found the […]


November 17, 2015

Ada Calhoun

Writer Ada Calhoun discusses her new book, “St. Marks Is Dead: The Many Lives of America’s Hippest Street,” with host Owen Egerton.