The Book That Changed My Life

Joyce Carol Thomas

Joyce Carol Thomas, 1983Joyce Carol Thomas won the 1983 National Book Award for Children's Books, Fiction for Marked By Fire.

The King James Version of The Bible, with all its beautiful violence and terrible compassions, was the earliest and most rewarding book that I have encountered. Born into a fundamentalist (profoundly religious) family, I early imbibed the powerful narratives of Genesis, the moving lyrics of the Psalms and awful mysteries of Revelations as regularly as I nursed Mother's milk. My writing - all genres - reflects the contradictions, sonorities, complexities of that wonderful and fantastic early source book. When I write, I subconsciously reach for those deepened levels of meaning and that same mesmerizing high quality of expression.

Joyce Carol Thomas