Meet Antwan Eady, a 2012 Department of Psychology graduate. He is the author of the new children’s book “Nigel and the Moon,” published by HarperCollins. His first book, “Nigel” is already receiving recognition as Publisher’s Weekly Most Anticipated Book of 2022, Barnes and Noble’s Most Anticipated Kids’ Book of February and Amazon’s Editors’ Best Books of the Month pick. He has other books in the different stages of development with the publishing houses including Penguin Random House.
We caught up with Eady in between planning sessions of his book tour to find out about his Clemson experience and what inspired him to take this career path.
Tell me about your book and the inspiration behind it. “Nigel and the Moon” is a story about a young boy who is afraid to tell the world his dreams, so he tells them to the moon at night. It is a journey of Nigel discovering his voice and finding his dreams. Writing “Nigel” was my way of speaking to a younger me. It was my way of honoring my late parents, and it was my way of grieving the children we’ve lost. I wanted to give them a place where dreams could live forever. Growing up, I loved telescopes and I loved looking at the moon. It was a safe space for me, and I hope others find safety in this, too.
What is the best part about your job? The best part of my job is being able to say I am living my dream. This is everything I had imagined, and there are still many surprises coming my way. I look forward to my upcoming book tour, school visits and meeting students. My dream is to have my books reach the parts of our world that have been overlooked for far too long, including my hometown, Garnett, South Carolina.
Describe your career path since graduating Clemson. Over the years, I have been lucky enough to cultivate all of my passions. After graduating in 2012, I spent time working with a non-profit. I also spent several years working in animal medicine until becoming a full-time author in 2021. There were highs and lows and plenty of days when I wanted to be where I am now, but I just wasn’t ready. I signed with a literary agent in 2019 and sold my first book to a publisher in 2020. That book was released on February 15.
What inspired you on this path? I have always loved literature and writing. I write for children because life is complex. There is so much to deal with, to fight against and to speak up for inside and outside of our homes. The internal battles are the ones I hope my books can help readers overcome, such as the moments of not feeling brave enough, pretty enough, smart enough or good enough. Literature changes and saves lives.
How did Clemson prepare you for your career? Clemson prepared me by providing a place for me to make mistakes and figure out what I wanted to do by doing what I had to do. Clemson is where I grew.
What was your favorite Clemson memory? I loved being an Orientation Ambassador and one of the first group of Welcome Leaders. I loved the first snow at Clemson and running across campus. I loved Solid Orange Fridays, and I found my best friends at Clemson my freshman year. I also became a brother of the Pi Alpha Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and one of my favorite memories was seeing my parents and brother in the crowd as I introduced myself to the campus as an Alpha man during our probate night.
Any advice to students? There is a whole world out here. It is waiting for you. But right where you are now, there is a whole world there, too, and there is beauty in it. Find that beauty. Move in a way that doesn’t force you to compromise who you are. Becoming who you are is a process, so be curious and hold on to the people that mean the most to you. At least once a week, write down or say something you are grateful for. For my first-generation students, I see you. I know the stresses you have. I know the weight that is on your shoulders. I have been there. I am rooting for you to not give up on yourself.
The Department of Psychology is part of the University’s College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences (CBSHS). Established in July 2016, CBSHS is a 21st-century, land-grant college that combines work in seven disciplines – Communication; Nursing; Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management; Political Science; Psychology; Public Health Sciences; and Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice – to further its mission in “building people and communities” in South Carolina and beyond.
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