Brisbane Writer’s Festival Love YA

Yesterday I went along to three panels for the Love YA part of the Brisbane Writer’s Festival. I read a lot of sci-fi/fantasy, and most of it is YA.

Love YA: Crossing Worlds

This was the first panel of the day, opened by Rhianna Patrick who was the host of the day. The authors were Jared Thomas, Clare Atkins and Brendan Lawley.

This panel had a discussion of more literary YA, which is what I would have enjoyed as a teenager but I don’t read much of anymore. There was discussions around cultural sensitivities and how to represent cultures that aren’t your own in writing.

Their books did sound great, but I tend to read more escapism fiction, so I probably won’t read the stories discussed.

Love YA: Crafting Futures

This panel had Veronica Roth (author of Divergent) and Cally Black (author of In the Dark Spaces), hosted by Charlotte Nash.

I loved this panel. I’ve read Divergent, and enjoyed it, but not enough to seek out the other books that followed, and I hadn’t heard of In the Dark Spaces, so I wasn’t sure what I’d think of this panel. The panel was described as, ” to discuss how they reflect on our present through the lens of dark speculative fiction”, and although there was some discussion of how books reflect current events or take elements from it which was fascinating there was also a lot of discussion around reading and books they enjoyed in general. Veronica Roth had also read In the Dark Spaces and frequently when answering questions put her to, would say, “Oh that’s also what you did in your novel” and ask a question of Cally Black, which kept the conversation flowing and brought up some interesting discussion points. There was also discussion around what makes YA as a genre, why they write for YA, and the importance of it. It was just great and everyone on the panel was clearly enthusiastic about all types of books.

One question asked was what books would you like to see made into a movie and Veronica Roth answered Mirage, and Cally Black answered Ancillary Justice.

Love YA: World Building in Historical Fantasy

This one turned out to be a panel just with Alison Goodman who writes Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club and two panels hosts with Sylvia Rose Kelly and Blake La Burniy. This was another wonderfully enthusiastic panel. I wasn’t sure at first because I hadn’t read any of the Lady Helen books, and it seemed like everyone else in the room had (including the panel hosts and the overall host of the day Rhianna Patrick who changed to a special bonnet for the occasion instead of the pirate hat she was wearing all day) so I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to follow the conversation, but that turned out not to be the case. Alison talked about her novels, her process of crafting ideas, how she prefers to write, how her friends write in a completely different way, her struggles with writing and how much effort she puts into the research and work behind the novels (“I’m a nerd,” she said).

It was a really enjoyable panel, and I’ve put Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club on my to-read list.

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