Monday 9 April 2012

Something to shout about - New Blog on UK YA fiction

I love UK YA

A new blog has been set up by the great writers Keris StaintonSusie Day and Keren David. The aim is to showcase YA teen/books written by authors in Britain and provide a resource on the intenet for anyone looking for UK YA. It can be found here Use the hashtag #UKYA to see how it is trending on Twitter.

Many of you who already follow my blog will know that though my PhD was a creative writing one, for which I wrote a YA novel, but it also looked at the changes in representation of sex, drugs and alcohol in UK YA fiction. I read some outstanding British YA whilst I was doing my research - Nicola Morgan's Wasted, Keren David's When I was Joe, Tabitha Suzuma's Forbidden, Judy Waite's Game Girls,  Lucy Christopher's Stolen (though I couldn't use this as it was based in Australia), Joanne Kenrick's Red Tears and Screwed, Kevin Brook's Candy and iboy, Alan Gibbons, Melvin Burgess, Keith Gray, Candy Gourlay, Bali Rai, Jenny Valentine.....  This is just a mere sample of all the books I read - if you want my complete  bibliography you can always contact me. 

Rather than giving you a detailed breakdown of the differences between UK YA and US YA I suggest you check out this excellent blog post that was recently written by Anne M Leone:

I found there were a lot of differences which is why I decided to focus on UK YA. It should be said that when I was doing my research a couple of years ago US YA were dealing with some things better than us - am thinking in the main LGBT here - but we are getting much better at that particular subject (for example check out Malorie Blackman's Boys Don't Cry). However, that was just one subject, I found UK YA to be very powerful and dealing with some pretty contentious subjects that US YA just wouldn't touch. Give me UK YA over US YA anytime.

I am currently doing some further research on this subject as I have been asked to write about the differences between UK YA and Canadian YA for their excellent journal Jeunesse - so watch this space for more thoughts on the subject.

Feel free to share this new blog information. We want to shout about UK YA fiction.

I know this blog post is late but it has has been a difficult couple of weeks including a few moments of 'shards of ice in my heart' but this song is for all my third years who have just left us. That was pretty emotional too! It is Armand Amar's  La Genèse.


  1. Thanks so much for the mention! As you well know, I think this is such a fascinating topic. I'd love to hear more about some of the issues you found that were touched on in UK YA more than in US YA. Eager to hear all about the journal article, too!

  2. Thank you Anne, will keep you posted. Am in the process of getting a couple of journal articles together - will let you know when they are available. You might be interested in a journal that I edit Write4Children (

  3. Been chatting to Keren about this and it's such an important debate to be having. The YA shelves here are mostly dominated by US YA and it ticks me off no end. Not because US YA isn't good, it is, but it doesn't give a full range of writing - in the same way, that UK YA doesn't give a full range. I find UK YA to be much grittier and intense, while I find US YA to be more commercial - and I do believe teens should have access to everything, not something skewed by market dictates and global rights.

  4. Nicky I couldn't agree with you more. US do tend to always go for the commercial. UK YA, I find, has guts to deal with unexpected and difficult subjects but are never issue driven they are always good stories well told.

  5. This is such an interesting debate - I wonder what they think about it across the pond?

    I was over there a while ago and the YA section is huge - but I did see a good few UKYA titles there as well.

  6. I would love to get some US (and others) commenting on this on the UKYA blog (or elsewhere). Thanks for the shoutout, Vanessa!