Reading Matters, the State Library’s biennial youth literature conference begins Wednesday May 25 with a stellar line-up of Australian and international authors leading two days of discussions, workshops and events about writing and publishing for young adult readers.
‘We’ve been really lucky this year to get a great line-up of authors from Cassandra Clare whose The Mortal Instruments series has been on bestseller lists around the world to Melina Marchetta who is well known for Looking for Alibrandi and has also won the very prestigious Printz Award for literary excellence in young adult literature. We’ve also got Ron Brooks, Lucy Christopher, Brenton McKenna, Denis Wright and many others. It’s a great mix.’
Authors and panellists will discuss a wide range of topics from violence in fiction to writing a believable love story, the Australian Landscape, unrequited love, and, of course monsters and the supernatural.
‘You can’t discuss YA literature today without reference to vampires, werewolves, wizards and angels. One of the panels with Ananda Braxton-Smith, Karen Healey, Kirsty Eager and Brenton McKenna, will discuss the challenges of incorporating mythology for a contemporary audience, using classic archetypes and using readers’ prior knowledge and subverting it. It will be a lot of fun,’ said Walsh.
This is the 9th Reading Matters conference and the 20th anniversary of the Centre for Youth Literature. Walsh said that while the stories young adults are reading may have changed over that time the Centre’s mission hasn’t.
‘We are still about helping readers to find books that resonate for them, that keep them interested and reading. We have new ways of doing that – online with insideadog.com.au for example, but it is still about reading for pleasure because that is what makes readers for life.’
While all the conference sessions have sold out tickets are still available for the Reading Matters: Youth Day where secondary and upper primary school students can attend one of four sessions featuring author talks and performances directed by Jenny Lovell. Writing workshops will also be held where students can hone their fiction, nonfiction and poetry skills.
Tickets are also available for keynote event – My favourite children’s book – hosted by Tony Wilson a panel of local and international writers and identities will reminisce about their favourite children’s books and characters. Panellists include:
- Russel Howcroft – adman and Gruen Transfer regular
- Rebecca Stead – award-winning US children’s author
- Roland Harvey – celebrated local author and illustrator
- Lawrence Leung – comedian, writer and star of ABC TV’s Choose Your Own Adventure