‘Teenagers can’t concentrate, it’s all that gazing at Facebook’
Comments we’ve all heard, or even made. Total nonsense. Young adult fiction is one of the fastest-growing areas in 21st century publishing: sophisticated and demanding teenage readers are pushing the boundaries of literature to new and exciting places. There may be a plethora of vampire lovers and high school beauties, but don’t let those fool you (and don’t we middle aged moaners have our Mills & Boon and 50 Shades….?) Dystopia, science fiction, politics, family issues, fantasy, horror, comedy, graphic novels – YA authors are some of the most experimental writers working today. Our teenage correspondent has trawled the 2014 Edinburgh International Book Festival programme to bring you her personal Top Ten of events in this fascinating, explosive genre. Here they are, in date order:
1) Joan Lingard
In a career spanning four decades, Joan Lingard has won numerous awards for her work, which often features the towns and landscapes of her Northern Irish childhood and her adult home, Scotland. Her latest novel, Trouble on Cable Street explores the rise of fascism across Europe and the direct impact it has on young Isabella and her brothers.
12 noon, Saturday 9th August, Baillie Gifford Corner Theatre. Ages 10-14. Tickets £4.50
2) The Dark Inside Us All: Sally Gardner & Rupert Wallis
Both Rupert Wallis and Sally Gardner have written novels with dark hearts. Rupert’s debut, The Dark Inside and Sally’s latest, Tinder are unsettling and ambiguous. Strangers might be werewolves. Witches may grant wishes. Or could it all be imagined? These are subtle, challenging books. Come and meet one of our finest, award-winning authors alongside an assured new voice.
3.30pm, Saturday 9th August, Baillie Gifford Corner Theatre. Ages 12+. Tickets £4.50.
3) Darren Shan: ZOM-B Continues
The tension mounts as master storyteller Darren Shan continues his ZOM-B series. The best-selling author of Cirque du Freak and The Demonata, Darren concocts a clever mix of horror, fantasy and realism to produce gripping stories which have sold in their millions across the world. Join him in this event for fun, fantasy and plenty of ZOM-B tales.
4.30pm, Tuesday 12th August, Baillie Gifford Main Theatre. Ages 12-15. Tickets £4.50.
4) Dr Book
Tell Dr Book what you like and the doctor will write you a prescription for some wonderful and inspiring new books to read. A simple medical procedure to cure your reading woes, for babies to teens and even parents. Courtesy of Edinburgh City Libraries.
Drop-in between 10am and 1pm, Friday 15th August, Baillie Gifford Children’s Bookshop. All ages, free and unticketed.
5) Patrick Ness
Patrick Ness is a two time Carnegie Medal winner and author of the critically acclaimed Chaos Walking trilogy. His latest novel, More Than This is the story of a boy who miraculously wakes after apparently drowning. He remembers dying, his bones breaking, his skull being dashed upon the rocks. So how is he here? Come and hear one of the finest authors of young adult fiction discuss his provocative new novel.
10.30am, Saturday 16th August, Scottish Power Foundation Studio. Ages 12+. Tickets £4.50.
6) The Siobhan Dowd Trust Memorial Lecture
Siobhan Dowd, an award-winning author, died in 2007 and bequeathed her royalties to a trust with the aim of bringing the joy of reading to those who need it most. The Book Festival is honoured to host the inaugural Siobhan Dowd Memorial Trust Lecture which will be delivered by acclaimed novelist Patrick Ness. His novel, A Monster Calls, based on an idea of Siobhan’s, won the Carnegie Medal. Patrick’s robust views are honest, and on occasion controversial – the result of his passion for the truth.
5pm, Saturday 16th August, Scottish Power Foundation Studio. Ages 14+. Tickets £7 (adults), £5 (under 16s, students and other concessions)
7) Tanya Byrne, Erin Lange and Lauren Oliver
Follow Me Down by Tania Byrne, Dead Ends by Erin Lange and Panic by Lauren Oliver are fine examples of intelligent and adventurous writing for young adults. Covering everything from illicit love, crimes of passion, missing Dads, road trips, and the desperate need adolescents have to test boundaries, these are authors who write pacey, thoughtful and unusual books. Come and meet them.
7pm, Sunday 17th August, Baillie Gifford Corner Theatre. Ages 14+. Tickets £4.50
8) Anne Cassidy and Emma Haughton: From Fact to Fiction
Anne Cassidy’s Looking for JJ was a groundbreaking bestseller. Ten years on she talks about what’s happened to the child killer since leaving prison. Emma Haughton’s debut, Now You See Me is inspired by the story of Nicholas Barclay who disappeared, then was later ‘discovered’ but turned out to be an imposter. Both writers have created fascinating thrillers exploring the human stories behind the headlines.
7pm, Tuesday 19th August, Baillie Gifford Corner Theatre. Ages 14+. Tickets £4.50.
9) Malorie Blackman
As Children’s Laureate, Malorie Blackman is ‘banging the drum’ for young adult literature so this is the teen event not to be missed. She discusses her powerful and controversial teen books, sharing the inspiration behind her bestselling Noughts and Crosses series and explaining what impelled her to tackle politics in her latest novel, Noble Conflict.
12 noon, Saturday 23rd August, Scottish Power Foundation Studio. Ages 12-15. Tickets £4.50.
10) Laura Jarratt and Linda Strachan: Motive and Intention
We all make snap judgements about other people, their actions and motives. But what if we’re wrong? Laura Jarratt’s new novel, Louder Than Words explores the world of computer hackers and cyber bullying. Don’t Judge Me by Linda Strachan involves four teens, an arsonist, an unreliable witness and four different motives. Meet two powerful voices in young adult fiction as they discuss friends, family and being dragged into situations beyond our control.
7pm, Saturday 23rd August, Baillie Gifford Corner Theatre. Ages 14+. Tickets £4.50
Programmes for the Festival are now available free from libraries, bookshops and many other venues (and of course on line.) Booking will open on 24th June 2014. All events take place in Charlotte Square Gardens, Edinburgh unless otherwise stated.