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What fiction do queer teens want?

Friday 5 November 2021

7:00 pm - 8:00 pm


This panel will explore what young audiences want from queer stories in an industry that appears fixated on trauma / coming out, and rarely spotlights what comes after. Does the current young adult fiction landscape reflect its audience? In such a fast-growing area of literature, how are young adult fiction writers going about creating work that young queer readers want?

Moderator - Will Kostakis (he/him) is a writer of all things, from celebrity news stories that score cease and desist letters, to tweets for professional wrestlers. That said, he’s best known for his award-winning YA novels including The First Third, The Sidekicks, and his queer fantasy duology, Monuments. An advocate for young readers and writers, Will was awarded the 2020 Maurice Saxby Award by the School Library Association of New South Wales for service to children’s and young adult literature.

Alice Boyle (she/her) is an LGBTQIA+ writer, English teacher, and sometimes- photographer. She is the winner of the 2021 Text Prize for Young Adult and Children’s Writing with her debut novel, Dancing Barefoot. She’s written for outlets including SBS Voices and The Stella Prize, has been highly commended for the Wheeler Centre’s Next Chapter initiative, and has worked on projects like Andrew Denton’s podcast Better Off Dead. Her short story ‘The Exchange’ was published in the Black Inc. anthology Growing Up Queer in Australia. Her queer YA rom-com Dancing Barefoot is coming out in 2022 with Text Publishing. She lives with her partner on Wurundjeri land.

Alison Evans (they/them) is the award-winning author of three YA novels: Euphoria Kids, Highway Bodies and Ida. They are a contributor in the YA anthologies, Kindred: 12 Queer #LoveOzYA Stories and Hometown Haunts: #LoveOzYA Horror Tales. They run a fortnightly writing group for trans youth with Nevo Zisin, and co-edit the zine Concrete Queers with Katherine Back, which has published over 60 queer and questioning artists. They are a passionate advocate for the #LoveOzYA community and  work as a children's specialist bookseller and live on unceded Wurundjeri Land.

Gary Lonesborough (he/him) is a Yuin man from Bega, NSW. Growing up, he was always writing. Gary moved to Sydney to study film, and would work on the feature film Jasper Jones. As a role model for Aboriginal youth and an emerging talent in the arts, Gary received the Bega Valley Shire Council’s Young Citizen of the Year Award, the Patrick White Young Indigenous Writers’ Award and the Copyright Agency Fellowship for First Nations Writers. The Boy from the Mish is his debut young adult novel.

Michael Earp (he/they) is a writer and bookseller living in Naarm. They are the contributing editor of Kindred: 12 Queer #LoveOzYA Stories and contributor to Underdog: #LoveOzYA Short Stories. Their writing has also appeared in The Victorian Writer and Aurealis. For over seventeen years they have worked between bookselling and publishing as a children’s and young adult specialist, currently managing The Little Bookroom. In 2021 they won the ABA Text Publishing Bookseller of the Year. A passionate advocate for LGBTQIA+ literature for young people, they established the #AusQueerYA Tumblr to catalogue all Australian young adult fiction containing queer content and characters. They were previously committee chair for the #LoveOzYA campaign. They have a Masters in children’s literature and a Bachelor of Education in Early Childhood Teaching.

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