From The Guardian:
I saw several really young writers at the Young Adult Literature Convention (Yalc) who seem to know just what their readers are feeling. Does the age of an author matter when writing YA fiction?
The appearance of so many young authors whose books are connecting so brilliantly with YA readers was a hugely successful hallmark of Yalc (Young Adult Literature Convention, held last weekend in London.
But, before the older writers are overlooked prematurely it is worth remembering, that Yalc was itself the brain child of Malorie Blackman as one of her projects during her time as the UK’s children’s laureate. Malorie Blackman is neither a new author nor a particularly young one but nonetheless she has written many outstanding YA novels including the best-selling Noughts and Crosses sequence of novels (now published as a graphic novel) and Boys Don’t Cry, a story of teen parents that is as understanding of the modern pressures on teens as anything else available.
Like many others who have been writing for this age group, Malorie Blackman, left her own teen experiences behind a longish time ago but it doesn’t stop her understanding the overwhelming emotions of adolescence and their bravery in standing up for themselves and others when they see unfair things happening.
YA fiction has been around for a long time. Beverly Cleary’s Fifteen, published in the US in 1956 and in the UK in 1962 is often cited as the first book for teenagers because it was one of the launch titles for the Peacock series that Penguin launched for this new market of readers. Impossibly tame for today’s readers in terms of the details, it was the only book on the list that was about contemporary adolescence and so included a version of the feelings, tensions and teenager/parent relationship that were a precursor to today’s YA fiction.
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Most recently, John Green’s runaway success The Fault in Our Stars has bowled over YA readers – and readers of all other ages too. John Green is young but his adolescent years are well behind him.
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Nonetheless, as the young Yalc authors showed, YA is gaining an exciting new dimension from upcoming very young writers. Among them are Samantha Shannon who signed a deal for her seven book series set in a dystopian world shot through with the supernatural which begins with The Bone Season when she was still a student and Helena Coggan who was even younger (15) and still at school when her first novel The Catalyst, also a dystopian fantasy, was published earlier this year.
Link to the rest at The Guardian and thanks to Meryl for the tip.