Ellie Marney, author of the Every series for Young Adults, reflects on the 11th biennial Reading Matters…
I’m still a newbie. My first book was only published in 2013, which was the year of the previous Reading Matters, and at that stage I think I’d only just started to call myself a writer. But this year I finally made it to Reading Matters 2015 (aka #YAmatters). I was promised wonderful guest speakers, inspiring professional panels, books for sale, and basically something that sounded like Wordsmith’s Heaven.
I was given that, and so much more.
This is it – Reading Matters is the event where all the people involved in the YA book industry come together to celebrate what they’ve achieved, listen to what people think about where the industry is heading, and generally catch up.
Some of my best moments? Just saying hi to friends, including one fairly memorable picnic on the carpet with everyone balancing their plates on their laps, talking about writing and books and showing each other pictures of our respective kids. Everyone was so rapt to see each other! We keep contact on social media, or chance upon each other at events or festivals, but this is a time when everybody gets to sit down and chew the fat.
L-R: Amie Kaufman, Ellie Marney, Vikki Wakefield
Each Reading Matters concentrates on an area where we could focus more of our attention – this year’s focus was on diversity, with particular interest in presses that publish indigenous authors locally, and the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign that has taken off internationally. In the panels and sessions, we all received a glimpse of new ways of thinking, or new ideas, or even just got a healthy reminder of what we’d been meaning to do more about.
Laurie Halse Anderson (Speak), Sara Farizan (If You Could Be Mine), Sally Gardner (Maggot Moon) and Priya Kuriyan (illustrator for Eat the Sky, Drink the Ocean) were the overseas guests who blew me away. I’d love to list all the locals, who were incredible too, but there isn’t enough space!
Readings had their own bookstore onsite at the Arts Centre, which was dangerous, of course, but I managed to hold myself back to…five books? Maybe six? Maybe I shouldn’t tell you, because it’s embarrassing how little self-control I have when it comes to buying new books?
The other exciting thing is hearing about new books under construction, as well as snippets about books that are about to be published…
Tom Taylor drew a silhouette of Batman in the copy of Injustice I bought for my sons. Read the rest of this entry »