Writers for young and old: AWRF 2013

Cover: A great and terrible beauty“Shall I tell you a story? A new and terrible one? A ghost story? Are you ready? Shall I begin?” This is a quote from Libba Bray’s A great and terrible beauty but it could apply to any of the four Young Adult writers who read from their work.

Apparently Bray loves to curse and I love to hear unlikely people curse so I had high hopes for this session. Admittedly the only reason I thought she was an unlikely four-letter word flinger was her appearance as seen on her blog (wholesome) and the fact that she is a P.K (Preacher’s Kid).

Bray was introduced as Super-Vixen because she has always wanted to be introduced as Super-Vixen, there was no cursing but she did do a great reading from her book Beauty Queens (“like Lord of the Flies only with sequins”).

There was a killing imitation of a former Vice-Presidential candidate, and Governor of Alaska, and a very funny parody of a feminine products ad.

Patrick Ness came to the stage bemoaning having to follow Bray but he had us rapt with a world-premiere reading from his new book More than this. No it’s not from the Roxy Music song, nor is it from the One Direction song. It’s from the Peter Gabriel song. It’s not published until September and I for one cannot wait.

I’ve seen Kate de Goldi lots of times at festivals  and I hold her in very high esteem. She’s a great writer but I think she is the best chair ever; a model of intelligence and acute observation without being a pill about it. I’m not going to get the chance to admire her chairing skills this time, so hearing her read from The ACB of Honora Lee was the next best thing.

Paula Morris is also a non-pill when she could so easily be one. She’s won awards for her short stories and her fiction for adults, now she has a very successful series of supernatural mysteries for Young Adults. She also has degrees from Universities in New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. Sigh. Morris’ first YA novel “went gang-busters in the U.S.” and it’s easy to see why if the bits she read are any indication of how compelling her YA work is.

This session gladdened this old librarian’s heart. It was a nice ‘mix-mash’ of young and old. Actual young people attended. They appeared to have made their way there under their own steam, not dragged along by adults. They were willing to stand at the back or sit on the floor. Full heads of naturally dark, red and fair hair could be seen, instead of rows of  greys and expensive dye jobs.

And they talked about books. They had opinions on the alternative ending of A Clockwork Orange. They were planning Alice in Wonderland themed birthday parties. Some of them ran to get their books signed at the end of the session. You won’t see that in a William Dalrymple crowd. Discreet but determined pushing is more their style.

Word(s) of the session: mix-mash.