Melvin Burgess, Geraldine Meade and I spent a couple of hours chatting about real life issues in young adult fiction. Many thanks to chair Niall McMonagle who asked such stimulating and interesting questions, and to the audience who did likewise (To the woman who asked if she could use my phrase ‘normalizing heroes of difference’ – just in case I wasn’t clear at the time, Yes! Of course you can! Use away!)
I found it especially interesting to be asked what I felt my responsibilities were as a YA writer. I’ve never considered that I have any more or less responsibilities when writing for teens than I do when writing for other humans. In my opinion teenagers don’t need or benefit from some kind of kid glove treatment and I approach my writing with a sense of responsibility which stems from social conscience rather than some protectiveness towards teenagers’ perceived fragility. But I had never given the distinction much thought before I was asked it as a direct question – not even during the recent spate of ‘dark YA good/ dark YA bad’ arguments – it was nice to be forced to concrete my own ideals into words like that. Thanks to Niall MacMonagle for that!
Going to relax now for a while. Spend the rest of the week reacquainting myself with the new project, finishing the next page of the webcomic, and giving my poor old car a rest from all the travelling it’s been doing recently!