Money & Career

Meet The Debut Author Reese Witherspoon Is Obsessed With

Is there any higher praise?

Nine is Kiley Reid’s number. It is the number of years she lived in New York City as a babysitter, spending her evenings hugging other people’s children goodnight. It’s the number of crushing rejection letters she received from every graduate school she applied to in 2015 after finally pursuing her lifelong dream of being a writer. And, amazingly, it’s the number of triumphant acceptances she received from those same nine schools the very next year, culminating in her attending the prestigious Iowa Writers’ Workshop (yes, that’s the one Lena Dunham attended in Girls).

It was those three moments of her life that led her to write the summer’s most hotly anticipated debut novel Such A Fun Age. A sharp, observant and sometimes uncomfortable story about power, race and class told through the conflicting perspectives of a 20-something black babysitter and her wealthy, white boss.

“It’s a story about well-intentioned people who sometimes make mistakes and you don’t tell the reader which people are good and which ones are bad,” says the 32-year-old, who grew up in Tucson, Arizona, before moving to New York where she worked as a babysitter and became obsessed with class dynamics.

“I was fascinated by the very strange dynamics of the relationship between parents and the people they pay to take care of their children,” reflects Reid, who after her recent wedding to scholar Nathan Rosenberg moved to the leafy suburbs of Philadelphia, where her novel is set.

“Publishing a book is a big dream come true, and now as I start novel number two, it’s the best challenge to do it again. But every day I’m realising how much work I have ahead of me so I might be a few years,” says Reid, with a nervous laugh. Let’s hope we’re not waiting nine.

This article originally appeared in the January issue of marie claire. 

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