1. She creates feisty women
Suzanne Collins – much like Beyoncé – likes her women fierce.
Her work is littered with badass ladies. They don’t call Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games) “The Girl on Fire” for nothing. She’s a bow-wielding revolutionary, and the antithesis of the passive protagonists we’ve seen many times before.
It’s refreshing to see women no longer defined by their relationship with the male characters, but as young heroines who survive whatever the system throws at them.
2. She’s not afraid to get political
“We have so much programming coming at us all the time. Are we becoming desensitized to the entire experience? I can’t believe a certain amount of that isn’t happening… those are real people on the screen, and they’re not going away when the commercials start to roll.”
The “reaping” is a huge public spectacle where people are chosen for the televised Hunger Games.
She questions the kind of “reality” television that her target audience watches, and The Hunger Games highlights the apathy so prevalent in modern society.
3. She’s all for teaching children about the realities of war
Suzanne Collins said of her father’s military background,
“I believe he felt a great responsibility and urgency about educating his children about war” and it’s an ethos that stuck with her throughout her writing career.
The Hunger Games is not the only story where Collins portrays the violence and terror of war. She also wrote a picture book called Year of the Jungle depicting a girl called Suzy whose father is called away to war in a faraway jungle, and how she struggles with his absence.
“If we introduce kids to these ideas earlier, we could get a dialogue about war going earlier and possibly it would lead to solutions.”
4. She’s more than just The Hunger Games
Her five-part fantasy/war series, The Underland Chronicles became a New York Times best-seller and has been published in 21 countries. Her books have sold over 85 million copies worldwide!
5.She helped Explain it All
She worked on several Nickelodeon shows including Emmy-nominated Clarissa Explains it All which was credited with becoming the first series to feature a girl lead.
It was popular among both boys and girls, helping to dispel those nasty rumours that a girl lead wouldn’t appeal to all viewers…
(Editor note: Curse you Youtube for not having the original opening credits!)
6. She’s a screen-writing sensation
Suzanne Collins shared screenwriting credits for the first The Hunger Games film.
It broke multiple box office records and went on to become the 14th highest-grossing North American release of all time, generating nearly $700 million at the worldwide box office.
Not bad, eh?
7. She really gets how it feels to be a reader
Suzanne Collins: “You fall in love with the characters. They grow on you. And as you read, you start to feel what they feel – all of them – you become them. And when you’re done, you’re never the same.”
8. She didn’t publish a novel until she was in her late 30s
She was thirty-eight when Gregor the Overlander was published.
9. She wants her writing to appeal to both girls and boys…
“Whenever I write a story, I hope it appeals to both boys and girls. But maybe in its simplest form, it’s having a female protagonist in a gladiator story, which traditionally features a male. It’s an unexpected choice. Or I don’t know, maybe the futuristic, grim nature of the story is larger than that. I wouldn’t care who was the lead in a good dystopian story.”
10. She became the top selling Kindle author in history.
Amazon doesn’t release sales statistics for the Kindle so it’s difficult to know the exact number of copies sold.
However, the three books in the Hunger Games trilogy -The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay - held the top spots on Amazon’s Kindle sales chart in 2012. The print version of the trilogy has sold 23.5 million copies since the first book was published in 2008.
This year, Amazon released a list of the most highlighted passages on the Kindle and 8 out of the 10 favourite quotes were from the Hunger Games trilogy. A line from Katniss in Catching Fire was highlighted just under 18,000 times.
“Because sometimes things happen to people and they’re not equipped to deal with them”
It seems that the odds are most definitely in her favour!
[Photo Credit: David Shankbone on Flickr]