Whatever Happened to Suzanne Collins?


Last week, after posting my disappointment about the Hunger Games Theme Park in China, I was reminded that it was not only a Panem-Capitol destination but a disneyland-esque for Twilight fans to gather. I had asked just a few days earlier Whatever Happened to Stephenie Meyer? and I guess the Chinese theme park had to be considered a partial answer to that question, if one has to doubt they are consulting the authors of the original novels for the workings of what are in essence CGI-infused amusement park rides.

That association of posts, though, made me wonder. Rowling has all but disappeared from public view; she has left her twitter platform and life as celebrity author for what we hope is the daily, focused grunt work necessary to complete a novel or screenplay. Meyer has continued to write and to be active in film production but few care; again, her latest novel, The Chemist, does not even have a dedicated wikipedia page more than two years after its publication, a roll-out that included 500,000 copies.

And Suzanne Collins? What is she up to? Is she living the private life a la Rowling, dedicating her focus to family and craft? Or is she working hard on projects few people care about?

In what is something like a draft of the HogwartsProfessor Pillar Post for The Hunger Games (Sort Of!), you can see how seriously I take Collins’ work. She’s that good. But it’s been more than ten years since the debut of Games. What is she working on?

Turns out, nobody knows, or, if they know, they aren’t talking about it online. All I found were a few internet pages that went up to mark the tenth anniversary in 2018.

Back in 2013, Suzanne revealed at a book expo that she was working on a much anticipated new series. But that was nearly five years ago, and she’s had no new publications.

She has no social media and hasn’t been the subject of very many articles for years. She’s revealed hardly anything about her personal life, only that she is married to actor Cap Pryor and lives in Connecticut with him and their two children.

This a fascinating article, an interview with Collins, that the Times contributed nothing to except for a quick edit:

In a 10th anniversary edition of the book, which hits stores this month, David Levithan, a vice president and publisher at Scholastic Press, interviewed Collins. An excerpt from that interview, including potential spoilers, is below, condensed and edited for clarity and length.

For Collins fans, this is a must read. The information she shares in the staged exchange with her editor about Just War Theory (which pretty much nails down the idea she is some flavor of Roman Catholic?), the several strands that made up the genesis of Hunger Games beyond the reality teevee programming in palimset with war footage on the news from Iraq, her sources for the Theseus nythological elements of the story — really this is a treasure chest of an interview.

But it is obviously just those questions Collins wanted to answer that matched up with what Scholastic thought she should talk about (and, my, oh, my, is she a team player about the films that were made from her stories, if she does make it clear how many hands her original screenplay went through before it was filmed and released to theaters). There is nothing about what she is working on, excited about reading, or her ideas about the legacy of her two series.

I throw this link on the page for the uber Hunger Games fan and serious reader who wants to peruse what passes as criticism today in the New Media and what they have to say about Collins’ trilogy. A clue? It isn’t Hunger Games that is shocking but the pedestrian, political, PC, and provincial posturing to be found here that doesn’t even begin to explain what made these books resonate so profoundly with readers. After reading this article of sound bites, I had to spend an hour or so with Lana Whited’s Critical Insights: The Hunger Games Trilogy as a kind of mental floss and depth freshener.

But there was nothing in the Vox piece about what Collins is up to, either.

My hope? That this departure from any kind of celebrity activity and publicity seeking is testimony to the author’s determination to avoid Gamesmaker status and to duck the seemingly unavoidable appearances as a citizen of The Capitol her status as best-selling author entitle her to. It’s possible that she has taken the money — and as the Kindle book best-seller world champion ten years on, there’s lots of money, not to mention film and theme park residuals — and done with it what she will out of the public eye and to build the necessary walls to protect her and family’s privacy.

God willing, Collins is writing and we will enjoy her new work. Whether she is or isn’t, though, isn’t her example of prudence, modesty, and retreat as admirable as Rowling’s charitable works in the public realm — and much more unusual? Perhaps Rowling has come to the same alocal place and decided finding reverse was the best gear for her, too. More power to anyone who has the courage and freedom to deny the Fame Beast its pound of soul-and-flesh.