The launch party for On the Come Up took place at BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) in New York in July, and it was spectacular. It was a dual celebration of the novel and a screening of Our Song, which Hannah's husband, Jim McKay, directed. The theater was packed, the book buying/signing lines long, the energy HIGH.
Anna Simpson (AnnMarie in the novel) spoke after the screening and gave some insight into just how On the Come Up came to be. She spoke about how she and Hannah met during the filming of Our Song and were instantaneously drawn to each other (Hannah to Anna's charisma, Anna to Hannah's mentoring), stayed in close touch over the years—through pregnancies, GED's, jobs, raising kids in two very different worlds—and never gave up on each other both personally and artistically.
Their energy and vibe was so ridiculously infectious at the launch, the place was buzzing! Theirs is an inspired, extraordinary story. #Beautifulwomen #Beautifulstories
Below are some pictures from the evening:
|Left to right, Hannah Weyer, Anna Simpson, and Jim McKay|
|A shot of the audience|
|Bottom left, Anna Simpson; bottom right, Hannah Weyer|
Our Song was also the movie that gave Kerry Washington, the star of ABC's Scandal and Django Unchained, her start in film. She tweeted about the launch event the day of:
But if you're feeling sad that you missed the launch party, don't worry! On the Come Up is a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers pick, and this coming Wednesday, September 11, Hannah Weyer and Anna Simpson will be reading from and discussing the novel at a Barnes and Noble store in Manhattan. The event takes place at 7 pm at the W. 82nd St. and Broadway location. Learn more here.
In addition to being picked for the Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers program, On the Come Up was highlighted as a Best Book in O Magazine...
...and received four stars from People Magazine.
Curious what Hannah was thinking about as she began writing On the Come Up? Hannah discusses this and more in an article she wrote for Women in the World. An excerpt is below, but check out the full article here.
When Anna and I first started to play around with the idea for a book inspired by her life, I knew her story hooked directly into themes that have always resonated with me as a storyteller and as a mentor. What are the small ways individuals find to level the playing field, to cross class lines or cultural barriers? How do we challenge the status quo if we know it to be unjust?
Praise for On the Come Up:
“Meet AnnMarie. She's 13, pregnant and living in a gang-ridden housing project. Not a promising scenario. But the heroine of Weyer's luminous debut turns out to be a survivor with rare spirit. She gets herself cast in an indie movie, attends its Sundance premiere and then, back in the 'hood, struggles to build a life for herself and her baby. AnneMarie is based on a real person, which makes it all the sweeter to cheer her on.” --People Magazine, Four Stars
“[Weyer] writes with confidence and agility, and readers will quickly sink into the groove of her storytelling...AnnMarie's interior monologues feel hypnotic and impromptu, silkily cadenced with what freestyle rappers call flow...On the Come Up isn't a cloying rags-to-celebrity tale...'Having gone out into the world and come back again' gives AnnMarie a glimpse of a future beyond Far Rockaway. Ms. Weyer convincingly charts the brave steps she takes to get there.” --Wall Street Journal
“Vibrant debut novel based on a real-life story...Weyer skillfully handles each phase of AnnMarie's life with a tonality that serves her growing maturity and shifting goals. Weyer's compassionate storytelling and experience as a mentor for at-risk youth lends her compelling novel an inspiring pathos without losing its sharp, realistic edge.” --Publishers Weekly
“Hannah Weyer proves to be a formidable ventriloquist in this inspired-by-a-true-story tale of one girl's fight to make it out of the projects and into the middle class...What ensues is a moving account of AnnMarie's struggle to free herself...and leverage her experiences into a better life.” --San Francisco Chronicle
“I couldn't put this book down. This world, this voice, this young woman are all so vividly raw and honest, my heart was broken open and I was hooked until the very last page.” --Kerry Washington, actress, Django Unchained and currently on ABC's hit show, Scandal
Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, July 2013