Alumnus Malcolm Hansen '14 Publishes Debut Novel 'They Come in All Colors'

May 30, 2018

They Come in All Colors by Malcolm HansenAlumnus Malcolm Hansen ’14 explores what it means to be biracial in America in his debut novel, They Come in All Colors, published by Atria/S&S and released on May 29.


Associate professor Victor LaValle praised the book as a “heartbreaker” of a debut, which follows the travails of Huey Fairchild, the only student of color at an all-boys prep school in Manhattan.


“Malcolm Hansen brings this thorny, vital child to life with empathy and grit,” LaValle writes. “He's not writing about saints or monsters, just vivid human beings. And does so with humor and insight. This is an American tale, illustration of a slice of history, but most of all it’s the story of a young man who wishes his own country would make a little room for him.”


Kirkus Review calls the book “a gripping, scorching, and at times vexing debut novel [that] tracks the physical and psychological jolts that come with growing up mixed race above and below the Mason-Dixon line at opposite ends of the 1960s.”


A starred Library Journal review calls it an “emotionally acute debut novel,” which praised Hansen’s smart-aleck narrator.


“Throughout, Hansen deftly unpacks the era’s tensions and the complexities of identity in ways that startle; biracial himself, he offers an understanding of Huey’s situation that is distinctive and surprising,” according to the review.


Author and fellow alumnus Mat Johnson '99 said that the book "reads less like a coming-of-age tale than a coming-to-life. This is a voice so honest and alive it feels like a stranger whispering a confession in a dark room. Malcolm Hansen's novel is a prodigious debut of a rare literary talent.”


Hansen was adopted by two Civil Rights activists and has lived all over the United States, Central America, South America and Europe. After two years of high school, he went to Stanford, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in philosophy.