Watch CBS News

Local Teen's Poem About Brother's Heroin Addiction Turns Her Into Published Author

Follow CBSPHILLY Facebook  | Twitter

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Could a local 13-year-old girl be the next Emily Dickinson, Sylvia Plath or Maya Angelou? Only time will tell, but for now, she can call herself a published author.

Eighth-grader Olivia Hughes can now call herself an author as a compilation of her poetry will soon be available for purchase.

While she's been writing since she was just 6 years old, a poem about her big brother's struggles with heroin addiction, resonates loudly in her new book.

She has been writing since she was in the third grade but the depths of this poem and the inspiration behind it reaches far beyond her years.

Olivia wrote the poem "The Promising" when she was in sixth grade. It's a poem about her older brother Steven's struggle with heroin addiction – an addiction that permeated the family dynamic.

"I wrote that poem one day when he wasn't doing very good," said Olivia. "He was struggling with his addiction and I just let out my feelings and it turned out to be a pretty good poem."

That poem is featured in her new book, "The Downside Up," along with many of her other poems that she's been writing since the third grade.

Local Basketball Star Hopes To Lead Villanova Women's Basketball To Big Dance

Some are whimsical, some serious, but all are now available to readers thanks to a contest that made her an author.

"An author came to our school, Steven Cosan, and he told us about this flash fiction contest where we could send in a poem or short story and I sent in 'The Promising,'" said Olivia. "I found out a couple months later that I was picked."

Olivia's parents are beaming with pride knowing that her book will soon be among one of the books in her school's library at Olson Middle School and in bookstores around the country.

"We always knew she was going to do big things, but this was surprising and exciting," said Olivia's mother, Laura Hughes.

Olivia hopes readers find inspiration, especially those grappling with addiction.

"I want them to know that it'll always get better, you can always find the positive, just help them out, they need help, they really do," said Olivia.

Olivia did all of the illustrations in the book and she will be doing a book signing at her school in the next week or so.

Also, her brother Steven has been in recovery now for the past year and he's writing poetry as well.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.