The Skin She’s In

Kiya Hudson , Arts & Entertainment Editor

Fifty-six years old with the glow of a teenager, Sharon G. Flake walks in the room and has a way of making the atmosphere relaxed. Flake, author of The Skin I’m In, came to AHS February 9th 2012. She personally introduced herself to almost everyone by shaking their hands, asking for their names and starting conversation with them. Dressed in a plain grey tee with a black bandana around her head, Sharon G. Flake knew how to set the vibe.

Sharon G. Flake was born in Philadelphia, PA but has been a resident of Pittsburgh, PA, for the past thirty years. She attended the University of Pittsburgh and graduated in 1978 with a B.A. in English. Schooling wasn’t always easy for Flake. She talked about how as a student she didn’t enjoy school and she didn’t have the best memory. She got an opportunity to do an internship for a newspaper but turned it down because she didn’t feel capable.

Flake obviously has worked past these insecurities when writing her books. When talking about the two year process of writing The Skin I’m In, she said, jokingly, “When I wrote The Skin I’m In I had a book next to me explaining what a plot was. Why did I, a graduate with a B.A in English, need to be reminded what a plot was?”

Listening to Flake read from her work was an enjoyable experience. Flake read from her most recent book You Don’t Even Know Me which has many different stories about controversial things such as living environments, suicide, and preferences such as skin and body shape. She had a way of turning into whatever character she was reading, from the way she moved her hands and head, to the way she spoke.

Flake writes phonetically, which she addressed during her visit. She talked about a request she received from a teacher who taught kids having problems reading and writing. She asked Flake to write a version of her book in Standard English so when her students read it they would also learn grammar. Flake responded, after saying phonetics adds to the depth of her characters, “I can guarantee you if your students read my books they will want to read more.”

Flake’s visits to Albany’s schools really gives the students a chance to see someone pursuing their dreams and succeeding. Thank you, Sharon Flake, not only for your bubbly presence but also for sharing your knowledge. You have touched and inspired students from all walks of life to walk it with pride in their stride.