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    YA fiction reader, freelance editor, home-baker, moustache admirer and very small person.

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New Day New Normal event write up

I had an amazing time last night in Waterstone’s at the Brighton stop on the NewDayNewNormal tour, listening to David Levithan, Louise O’Neill and Lisa Williamson talking about their books, gender and identity issues, and so much more. It was a brilliant night enjoyed by all. Here are just some of my highlights of the evening:

Hearing David, Louise and Lisa read from their books

There is something pretty special about hearing an author read from their own book, and these three all totally owned it. I particularly enjoyed listening to Lisa read from The Art of Being Normal – hers was the only book that I haven’t yet read. She read with such energy it was as if the characters had come to life in the room. I now cannot wait to read this book ASAP!

Asking an actual question!

I usually get The Fear about speaking up at these kind of events, but managed to pluck up the courage. My question was about something I had read online recently: a female author of a Dr. Who novel had said that she didn’t think there should ever be a female Dr. Who, and that as a character he has inherently male traits. All three authors on the panel question gender and identity in their writing so I wanted to know their reaction to this statement, and the idea of certain character traits belonging to one gender or another. They seemed unanimous that it was a bit of a silly idea! David Levithan: “What IS a male trait?” It also led on to a more general discussion of gender as a social construct, whether they write for a male or female audience (of course not, they write to reach anyone and everyone) and how girls and boys react differently to book covers. There were some really great questions from other audience members and the authors never missed a beat.

Being reminded why YA fiction is awesome

David Levithan talked about how he likes writing about teens because for him it is an ‘origin story’, going back to that time in your life when you first really question who you are and who you want to be – and you don’t stop asking those questions once you turn 20. Lisa Williamson talked about how intense it is writing about teenage characters, seeing things through the eyes of someone experiencing it for the first time. What they said reminded me again why I love reading about teenage characters and will keep reading books about them until I’m old and grey.

Getting my books signed

I was absolutely thrilled to get my copies of the authors’ books signed and I will treasure them always. Typically, I came over all shy when it was my turn to go up and simply said thank you and shuffled off. What I actually wanted to say to Louise and David was: I love your books, never stop writing! And to Lisa: Your book sounds awesome and I cannot wait to read it!

Getting a sampler of Louise O’Neill’s new book, Asking For It

I read it in like two seconds. Now I NEED to know what happens next! I fully expect it to be as dark and hard-hitting as Only Ever Yours.

Feeling inspired

I left the event feeling inspired to read more unique and wonderful stories by YA authors and feeling inspired to write – whether it’s working on a novel or writing a diary by emailing myself (thanks for that tip, Lisa Williamson!).

Well done to everyone who organised this fantastic event, and thank you to all three authors for stopping by to see us in Brighton! The tour finishes tonight in Waterstone’s Piccadilly, London. Have a great night guys!


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  1. Top Ten Stories That Needed to be Told | library4delinquents

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