What’s the deal with diversity? It’s a hot topic in YA literature, but why is it important? Journalist and author Sarah Ayoub is joined by writers Randa Abdel-Fatteh, Erin Gough and Will Kostakis to discuss why portrayals of Australian teenagers in books should be real rather than random. How can writers use more than just culture to create characters we can relate to? Find out what roles family, class, gender and sexuality can play in the books we read.
When: Saturday 27 May
Where: Riverside Theatre, Parramatta, 1.30pm
‘It doesn’t matter if you’re gay or straight, it’s got what I love in novels; great characters, relationships, a strong funny voice and a great sense of place.’ Melina Marchetta
‘Eminently readable prose; a relatable narrator; and a realistic, grounded lesbian romance will leave readers cheering for Delilah to find her way.’ Booklist
‘Delilah’s interactions and conflicts with her family and friends feel deeply real.’ Publishers Weekly
‘Romance fans will find the up and down relationship of Rosa and Delilah dreamy.’ Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
The Flywheel is being released in the States in April under a new title (with a new cover) – Get it Together, Delilah!
Barnes and Noble has listed it as one of their most anticipated LGBT releases for 2017. Read the full list.
I had the great pleasure of being a part of an excellent event run by the City of Sydney at Customs House last week. Dr Victoria Flanagan, a leading researcher and lecturer in gender representations in literature and film for young people, author Will Kostakis and I talked about books and queer identity. And then we all got to make zines! I loved that part the most. It included the chance to use an old typewriter for the first time since I was a kid. Naturally I had no idea where to even put the paper, but once I got the hang of it it was very satisfying. Especially the part where it makes a dinging noise once you get to the end of a line. Microsoft should really consider incorporating that feature into their next Word version.
The Flywheel is on the Children’s Book Council of Australia 2016 Shortlist (Older Readers)! This is a great honour, especially considering the company:
The Pause, John Larkin
Freedom Ride, Sue Lawson
A Single Stone, Meg McKinlay
Inbetween Days, Vikki Wakefield
Cloudwish, Fiona Wood
The Flywheel has also made the Gold Inky Award 2016 shortlist with more fab writers:
Illuminae, Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Sister Heart, Sally Morgan
Green Valentine, Lili Wilkinson
Cloudwish, Fiona Wood
The Inky Awards are very special in that the books are selected by teens, for teens.
Now that the shortlist has been announced, VOTING IS OPEN! If you are between 12 and 20 you can cast your vote for your favourite book until Sunday 18 September.
If you’re interested in finding out more about all the Inky longlisted books, I recommend you check out the excellent Bookish Friends podcast, which has an episode for each of them, including The Flywheel.
There is something very cool about seeing a book you wrote published in another language. And German is a language that looks seriously cool on the page. There are the umlauts. The long, important-looking words. Not to mention the German version of inverted commas, which look »like this«.
My book is out in Germany this week! In hardcover, no less. It’s called Herzflattern mit Karamell (oder wie ich in zwei wochen mein leben ruinierte), which translates to Heartbreak with Caramel (or how I ruined my life in two weeks). I am very excited.
One of the best things about publishing a book is getting to meet and hang out with other authors and chat about my favourite topic: writing. I will have this pleasure on 15 March at Gleebooks in Glebe, Sydney, where I’ll be talking with Melina Marchetta, Will Kostakis, Chris Morphew and Felicity Castagna, all of them talented novelists who have written for a young adult audience. We’ll be discussing the state of young adult literature in Australia, the politics of it, as well as writing in general. I’d love to see you there.
I can’t believe it’s almost September! The last few months have been busy. At the end of May I was privileged to be a part of the Reading Matters Conference, where I met a whole bunch of fabulous people including the great folk at the Centre for Youth Literature (if you don’t know about them already I recommend you check them out). I also met some amazing authors, local and international, and was lucky enough to speak on panels with Clare Atkins, Priya Kuriyan, Sean Williams and Jared Thomas.
In June I visited PFLAG Western Sydney to talk about The Flywheel. Those PFLAG-ers – what a bunch of legends.
In July I was invited to be writer in residence at Inside A Dog, where I blogged about diversity in YA fiction, writing great characters, making great sandwiches and cats who give birth to chihuahuas, among other things: you can check out my posts here.
Earlier this month I chatted to Neil Phipps at Eastside Radio about The Flywheel and gay YA.
Next month the fun continues. I am very pleased to be part of the celebrations at the launch of the Stella Prize Schools Program in NSW. Authors Randa Abdel-Fattah, JC Burke, Emily Maguire and I will be discussing the ways unconscious bias affected our teenage reading habits, and how our books seek to address contemporary issues around gender and diversity. The panel will be moderated by Stella Prize Schools Coordinator Bec Kavanagh, and followed by book signings and refreshments.
Do join us!
Where: Sydney Story Factory, 176 Redfern Street, Redfern NSW 2016
When: 5:30–7:30pm, Wednesday 9 September
In very exciting news, on 24 May I will be at the Sydney Writers’ Festival talking about The Flywheel and realistic young adult fiction (no vampires allowed) with some seriously awesome YA talent. Also on the panel are New York Times bestseller Laurie Halse Anderson (whose latest book, The Impossible Knife of Memory is a cracker), Australian writer Barry Jonsberg, author of the wonderful My Life as an Alphabet and It’s Not All About YOU, Calma!, and the legendary Melina Marchetta, who has written some of my favourite books of all time (If you haven’t read Looking for Alibrandi and Saving Francesca start TONIGHT). Event details are on the SWF website
I had a great night at Readings Carlton Bookshop on 26 March for the First Book Club, presented by the lovely folk at Kill Your Darlings. Veronica Sullivan (also one of the Melbourne Writers Festival 2015’s 30 under 30) led a great discussion about the book, which was followed by questions from the audience. I really enjoyed meeting everyone and chatting about The Flywheel, why I wrote it, and where it came from. If you’re interested in reading more about my influences you can check out the piece I wrote for KYD prior to the event.