Few experiences are as intense or formative as adolescence. Capturing it in writing is no easy task – but our best storytellers are here to talk you through it. In a series of curated sessions, we examine the mechanics of creating compelling characters, navigate difficult topics, and explore what makes YA voices resonate. From first steps to publication, this is your all day guide to YA.
Presented by Text Publishing.
10.00am: Keynote by Leanne Hall
What does it mean to be an emerging writer writing about emerging adults? Leanne Hall is the author of This Is Shyness, Queen of the Night and Iris and the Tiger, and has worked in the arts, educational publishing and as a bookseller. Start the day being inspired by her genuine passion for youth literature.
With: Leanne Hall
10.30am: The Road to Publication
Mark Smith’s The Road to Winter is a dystopian survival thriller set on Victoria’s coastline. It’s also his debut novel, released by Text Publishing in 2016. In conversation with his editor Jane Pearson, Mark looks back on the editorial process for The Road to Winter. From acquisition through to manuscript delivery, here’s what you need to know about the pathway to publication.
With: Mark Smith and Jane Pearson
11.30am: Hows and Whys
With YA expert and #LoveOzYA chair Michael Earp, three writers take us behind the scenes of successful storytelling. How did they find their YA voices – and why are they drawn to this readership? Come along for an hour of insights into the complexities of creative practice.
With: Michael Earp, Alison Evans, Fiona Wood and Demet Divaroren
1.15pm: People of Substance
Calling all wispy protagonists, shady side characters and limp love interests: this is your moment. Writing credible, active characters can be one of fiction’s biggest challenges. Fortunately, we have just the crash course for you. Join Simmone Howell and Penni Russon for two hours of character-building (and fortifying) advice.
With: Simmone Howell and Penni Russon
3.30pm: Sex, Death and YA
The tides of the YA market are turning, and the water’s so much deeper. As the themes explored in YA become darker and more complex, they can be difficult to navigate for writers and readers alike. Does this darkness help or hinder stories of hope? Can YA still be a safe space? Four writers untangle the taboo and speak the unspeakable, sharing their tools for tackling the big topics with subtlety and truth.
With: Lili Wilkinson, Erin Farrow, Nicole Hayes and Vikki Wakefield
4.30pm: The Text Prize
The Text Prize is awarded annually to the best manuscript written for children or young adults. Now in its tenth year, the prize has launched careers and produced spectacular books. Claire Christian, winner of the 2016 Text Prize, takes us through the experience and how the prize has contributed to her career.
With: Claire Christian