For the fourth year running, we will be championing the best in Young Adult fiction at the London Literature Festival, with our dedicated YA Day on Saturday 27 October. Across Southbank Centre you won’t be able to move for inspirational YA authors giving dedicated talks, and the day will also see us showcase new and emerging poetry and spoken word, and celebrate independent publishing with a special fanzine fair.
One of the day’s stand out events is Young Adult Friction, which brings together three of the most exciting YA writers of the moment - Nikesh Shukla, MA Bennett and Will Hill - to discuss how upbringing, social inequality and privilege define young people’s futures.
Nikesh Shukla is editor of British Book Award-shortlisted anthology The Good Immigrant, a collection of essays by British writers of colour about race and immigration in the UK. He’ll be discussing his new YA novel Run, Riot, which tells the thrilling story of what two teenage residents of a tower block do when it is threatened with being turned into glossy apartments.
MA Bennett, is the author of S.T.A.G.S, which was shortlisted for the YA Book Prize 2018. The book follows Greer, a scholarship student at a prestigious private school who discovers something rotten at the core of the privilege she encounters. And Will Hill, the winner of that 2018 YA Book Prize, will be speaking about his book After the Fire, inspired by a real-life American cult.
The talk event Fierce Fairytales brings together two fantastic female voices, Nikita Gill - author of Fierce Fairytales & Other Stories to Stir Your Soul - and poet and creator of Octavia Poetry Collective for women of colour, Rachel Long. The pair will be considering how we can look at retelling tales that put girls and women at their heart, and allow boys and men to try roles other than the gallant hero, in an event chaired by the journalist and founder of BAME In Publishing, Sarah Shaffi.
In high demand, Shaffi will also be chairing what’s sure to be a fascinating discussion between the multi-award-winning authors Juno Dawson (Hollow Pike, Say Her Name, This Book Is Gay), Robert Muchamore (CHERUB, Henderson’s Boys) and Melvin Burgess (Junk, Kite, Doing It). Together they’ll look at the challenges of creating believable characters, and question how far YA fiction can go.
And YA Day will also take a look at events in America as the co-authors of the new book What If It’s Us, writers Adam Silvera and Becky Albertalli - both American - explore the normalisation of LGBTQ+ themes in literature and what it's like to live and love in America today.
Beyond the dedicated YA Day there are other London Literature Festival events likely to strike a chord with a YA audience. On 19 October, co-authors of Slay in Your Lane: The Black Girl Bible, Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinené, offer advice for young Black women on everything from education and work, to dating, representation, money and health. And on 20 October, American writer and National Book Award finalist E Lockhart leads a Finding Your Voice workshop for emerging writers; encouraging them to look at heritage, family, fandoms, regionalisms, inside jokes and slang vocabularies as a means to get your unique mind onto the page.