This year’s conference theme is Conceal and Reveal: Truth and Lies in Children’s Books, and it seems to us that brutal truths and fantastic lies (that’s fiction to me and you) are being explored in current writing for young adults. We’ve assembled a dream team of YA writers – two shortlistees and the winner of the Bookseller’s inaugural YA Book Prize – to talk about the power of YA to explore young people’s truths and to give them (and us adult readers) access to new and exciting worlds.
James Dawson is the multi award-winning author of dark teen thrillers HOLLOW PIKE, CRUEL SUMMER, SAY HER NAME and UNDER MY SKIN. Until recently, James worked as a teacher, specialising in PSHCE and behaviour. He writes full time and lives in South London. This year, he will release his first contemporary romance, ALL OF THE ABOVE. His first non-fiction book, BEING A BOY tackled puberty, sex and relationships in a frank and funny fashion. A follow up for young LGBT people, THIS BOOK IS GAY came out in 2014, the same year in which he was voted Queen of Teen. Next year, there will be a new non-fiction title, MIND YOUR HEAD, everything a young person needs to know about mental health. James is a regular contributor to Attitude Magazine, GT and The Guardian and contributes to news items on the radio (BBC Women’s Hour, Front Row) concerning sexuality, identity, literature and education. Most recently, he blogged about the extraordinary range of YA books that feature diverse characters of all kinds – suggest books or follow the dicussion on Twitter using the hashtag #YouGotDiverseBooks or by following James, @jamesdawson
Kim Hood grew up in British Columbia, Canada. After earning degrees in psychology, history and education, she wandered through a few countries before making the west coast of Ireland home. Her eclectic work experience in education, therapy and community services has presented endless opportunity to observe a world of interesting characters. She has always had a passion for trying to understand life from the perspective of those on the fringes of society. Kim’s debut novel, FINDING A VOICE, was published by The O’Brien Press. To read about the background to FINDING A VOICE, visit the O’Brien Press blog, or follow Kim on Twitter, @authorkimhood
Louise O’Neill is from West Cork and is published with Quercus. She studied English at Trinity College Dublin and has worked for the senior Style Director of American Elle magazine. While in New York, she also worked as an assistant stylist on a number of high-profile campaigns. She is currently working as a freelance journalist for a variety of Irish national newspapers and magazines, covering feminist issues, fashion and pop culture. Her debut novel, ONLY EVER YOURS, has won a number of prestigious awards, including the Eilís Dillon award for a first book at the CBI Book of the Year Awards, the Bookseller’s YA Book Prize and Newcomer of the Year at the Irish Book Awards. Her second book, ASKING FOR IT, will be published in September 2015 and will be launched at Eason on Dublin’s O’Connell Street. It has been named as one of “35 brilliant new books you should read this summer” by Buzzfeed. For more information about Louise, see her website or follow her on Twitter @oneilllo and hashtag #notaskingforit
To book tickets for Conceal and Reveal, click here.