YA Lit Gets A Con

Last week at the annual Children’s Media Conference I had the privilege and the pleasure to attend Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman’s Creative Keynote address.

Malorie Blackman

If you don’t know Malorie Blackman’s work (if not, why not!?), she’s the author of 60 books, and most notably the Noughts & Crosses saga, about an alternative world where the black Crosses are the dominant and wealthy race and the white Noughts are subjugated and marginalised.  Beyond the high concept, they are gripping reads.

noughts and crosses series malorie blackman

I’ve only met Malorie once before, at London Book Fair, when we both were giving talk.  She’s a powerhouse of engery, ideas, and enthusiasm.  In her keynote address, she explained part of her writing journey to allow all readers, regardless of race or situation, see themselves in books – thus showing them that books can be for them.

As someone who was a reluctant reader growing up, I think this is probably the most powerful thing the book biz can do to bring more readers into the tent — let them see that reading is for them.

Part of her strategy as Children’s Laureate is to elevate books to the same level of pop culture impact as video games, comics, film, and TV.

To that end, she’s founded and curated the first ever Young Adult Literature Convention.  Like comic mecca SDCC, this is London’s take on creating a Con for young adult writing.

yalc wide

The con opens this weekend and it’s a chance to celebrate, geek-out, and get inspired by some of the top writers working today.

The full line-up is here:  http://www.childrenslaureate.org.uk/yalc/yalc-schedule/

I hope you support Malorie’s initiative and check out the Con!  But more than that, I hope that there are reluctant readers out there who go to the Con for games or comics, and stumble into the rich world of YA lit and broaden their pop culture horizons.

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