Tommy Orange recently burst onto the literary scene with his powerful first novel, There There, a tender but unflinching story about Native American city dwellers—​a subject rarely explored. Set in Oakland, Orange’s multigenerational tale delves into its characters’ struggles as they question who they are and where they’re from. Their lives merge—and the novel explodes—at a heartbreaking fictional Oakland Coliseum powwow.

With writing that combines humor, action, and profound empathy, There There landed Orange a major book deal from Knopf with a sizable print run. He graduated from the Institute of American Indian Arts MFA program, where he now teaches, and is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma.

Tommy’s tips for aspiring writers: “Write as much as you possibly can—when you feel awful; when you feel good; when you hate yourself, or your writing, or both; when you don’t think what you’re working on is worth anything. When you can’t write, revise. Read your work out loud.”