We all had a great time at the Great YA Debate event at the ever-excellent Edinburgh International Book Festival last night. Coincidentally the TES published an article by Joe Nutt that was highly critical of YA yesterday afternoon, so our own Anthony McGowan’s ‘provocation’ seemed quite gentle by comparison.
We heard one comment last night that the debate on YA is getting old. We’re still interested, because we’re interested in young people and reading. We’re interested in young people who don’t read, and ways to reach them. We’re interested in what might be called the ‘literature ecology’ – books and reading as a big, open thought process in which readers, writers, publishers and others all play a part. We’re interested in empowering young people and how adults who promote / control / gatekeep / make money out of their reading can promote this empowerment or limit it.
We think those who produce and consume YA are big enough and bold enough not to collapse at criticism, whether it’s informed or otherwise.
We enjoyed Anthony’s provocation, and we enjoyed the response to it last night. We didn’t mind Joe Nutt’s article, because we think those who produce and consume YA are big enough and bold enough not to collapse at criticism, whether it’s informed or otherwise.
We came away from the debate wanting more, and we’re still discussing some of the issues this morning. We’ve trawled through our archives for some of the many articles we’ve written over the years, and rounded up a few more links for good measure:
On gatekeeping and specifically the controversy over The Bunker Diary: What’s YA Problem? Carnegie Congratulations and Controversy for Kevin Brooks
On YA and politics: An Apolitical Animal: Politics And YA Fiction For Young People
On Anthony being provocative again at YALC: Hang On A Minute Folks, More Thoughts on YA
On blaming publishers for all that is bad: Those Darn Publishers
Juno Dawson’s response to the TES article: To Suggest a Book Written for Young Adults Has Any Less Merit Than the Classics is Sheer Snobbery
Hats off to Daniel Hahn for excellent chairing last night – we hope EIBF brings back the YA discussion next year, perhaps with more young people involved in structuring it…