SWF All-Day YA 2018

Last Saturday was the Sydney Writers’ Festival All-Day YA event at the Riverside Theatre in Parramatta. This is the second year I’ve been, and again, it was fantastic, and I came away inspired with fresh ideas, and with new knowledge about how authors and illustrators do their thing. There was a fun and friendly vibe, beanbags, food tucks, and a great selection of YA books to buy.

Surprisingly, as I have not read a whole lot of sci-fi or dystopian YA, my favourite panel of the day was the Architects of New Worlds panel featuring Jesse Andrews, Cally Black, Claire G. Coleman and Jay Kristoff.

They spoke about world building; who they think does it well, and how they manage to do it themselves. Some ideas that I took away were:

  • You don’t have to empty the notebook and put it all in – have an in-depth backstory for your own self, but not all of it needs to go into the story.
  • Conversations in the story (particularly with those who are new to the world) are a great way to integrate backstory and exposition.
  • Don’t explain things you don’t need to.
  • If it’s a cool idea your readers will go with it.

The MG dystopian novel I have had brewing in my head for about 5 years has risen a bit closer to the surface.

I enjoyed all the sessions I went to and was really impressed with the Youth Curators who programmed the day and chaired some of the panels.




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