Author shares writings on experiences of diverse identities


Camryn Garrett, a published author, presented an interactive lecture on the process of writing and publishing.

Camryn Garrett, a young adult author presented her writings which include books featuring people of color and exploring a range of issues such as queer identities, sexual assault, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and fatphobia. 

Garrett, who has been named a Glamour College Woman of the Year and one of Teen Vogue’s 21 under 21, has written several books featuring main characters who are people of color dealing with a variety of identities, experiences and issues. Garrett writes about these characters and topics in hopes of humanizing them and allowing readers to connect with them and find similarities.

The event was hosted by ISU Writing & Media Services. Rachel McKenny, assistant director of the Academic Success Center, acted as the main host. 

After formal introductions, the event moved into a general discussion of the writing process, with Garrett sharing what this process looks like for her and what works best.

“I really like drafting…I think it’s cathartic,” Garrett said. “I’m not the type of person to edit as I go. I just vomit on the page, and, a lot of times, I will write out of order.”

There are, however, some parts in the writing process that do not come as easily to Garrett.

Garrett shared her struggles in setting up plots and explained that her writing is more character-focused rather than plot-focused.

Another challenge Garrett faced involved a change in mindset during COVID-19. She shared a story about a manuscript she started in high school when she was “living her best possible life.”

When the pandemic hit, Garrett looked back at the manuscript and found it hard to get back into that mindset. Since things were so different, it was too hard to focus on the good.

“I couldn’t mentally get back to that place,” Garrett said. “I was home all the time as we all were. I wasn’t seeing people. I was just like, ‘I don’t even know what this feels like anymore.’”

The focus of the presentation shifted to her individual work with an emphasis on how Garrett’s writing styles have evolved. Garrett said her perspective on the issues central to her first book is very different from her current perspective.

“When I was writing [my first book], I wasn’t thinking of older people’s reaction as to how I wrote about HIV,” Garrett said.

Garrett explained that she was thinking about those who did not have much knowledge about the subject.

“Most of my friends, most of my acquaintances, don’t know what the AIDS crisis was, and don’t know what ACT UP was, and don’t know about HIV in general, and I was thinking about that,” Garrett said.

The presentation ended with a discussion, and Garrett shared her final thoughts on being an author.

Garret has another book on the way, with a hopeful release in January 2023. Her books are available at Ames Public Library and bookstores such as Dog-Eared Books.

More information on Garrett’s work can be found on her website.