Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Young adult lit comes of age

A great article in the LA Times about the popularity of YA fiction amongst adults.

"YA authors are able to take themselves less seriously. They're able to have a little more fun, and they're less confined by this idea of themselves as Very Important Artists. That paradoxically leads them to create far better work than people who are trying to win awards."

I’ve written a lot of stories and novels with young people as central characters, although I wouldn’t classify any of them as YA – I like to reserve the right to use appropriate levels of sexuality, violence, and vocabulary in my work where needed. (You can understand why I so love Spike Jonze’s description of his film Where the Wild Things Are as a movie about childhood, and not necessarily for children.) And I have known for years that if you want a ripping good yarn with memorable characters and, very often, trenchant observations about life, you should give YAs a try. I felt quite vindicated when Harry Potter became a success. (I read them all, and loved them.) Expect more of this from my writing – the world caught up to me once, maybe it will do so again.

The article doesn’t mention one of the most popular adult writers who has crossed over more or less full-time (at present) into YA and children’s books, and that is the inimitable Neil Gaiman. Pictured at the top of the post is one of my favorite YAs, China Miéville’s Un Lun Dun, about an alternate world existing parallel/underneath the real London. Miéville cited as one point of inspiration for this book Gaiman’s Neverwhere, another book I love. Compare the two sometime.

Young adult lit comes of age (LA Times)


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