John Lewis helps themselves to my picture book. https://t.co/mrVHmalTwh
— chris riddell (@chrisriddell50) November 16, 2017
A very special #YATAKEOVER Twitter Festival is taking place this weekend to help celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Carnegie & Greenaway awards. There are discussions taking place throughout Saturday and Sunday – timings for the programme on both days are shown above.
Highlights include a conversation with Neil Gaiman discussing The Graveyard Book; Melin Burgess talking about taboos in fiction; the new laureate Lauren Child talking about her work; a guest appearance by Philip Pullman.
Anyone with an interest in Young Adult fiction, there is a treat in store for you today and tomorrow – and all you need to take part is an internet connection.
#YATakeover is a book festival celebrating YA, held entirely on Twitter.
Zoella’s mega-seller represents the future of youth publishing, says the ES headline above David Sexton’s review of Girl Online:
It’s a moment. Apparently from nowhere, a Young Adult novel, Girl Online (Penguin, £12.99) by 24-year-old Zoe Sugg, aka Zoella, has shot to the top of the bestseller lists. It shifted 78,109 copies in its first week of publication, making it the fastest selling debut ever, outdoing J K Rowling, Dan Brown and E L James. It seems a cert to head the charts for Christmas.
It’s not from nowhere, though. Zoella already commands audiences other authors can only dream of. She’s the queen of vloggers, the role model of her generation. In her shows, made from her home in Brighton, she talks about clothes, make-up, relationships and her life — and receives substantial advertising revenue for product-placement, for she reaches young consumers on an astonishing scale.
She has 6.3 million subscribers on YouTube and more than 12 million views a month. On Instagram, she has 3.3 million followers and on Twitter (@ZozeeBo) 2.59 million. Taking into account the devotion she inspires in her girl fans the book sales don’t look so remarkable.
As for that sales record, it doesn’t tell us anything new about publishing, which has abjectly depended upon spin-off sales from other media for many years. What it tells us about is the dominance of new media over old-fashioned television for Zoella’s generation — they’re “like 70-30 YouTube”, she reckons. She should know. Clever girl.
I’m leaving Twitter for a while. Bye!
— Malorie Blackman (@malorieblackman) August 25, 2014
The Bookseller is itself guilty of some exaggeration in saying the children’s laureate has “quit Twitter”, when her profile is still present and her latest update refers simply to “leaving Twitter for a while” – in other words taking a break.
Children’s laureate Malorie Blackman yesterday (26th August) quit Twitter after receiving racist abuse over an article published by Sky News.
On Saturday, Sky News ran an interview with Blackman where she spoke about the lack of diversity in children’s books, with an accompanying article.
The story was first published with the headline “Children’s Books ‘Have Too Many White Faces’” leading to several angry comments underneath the article and on Twitter.
Sky News then changed the headline to “Call For More Ethnic Diversity In Kids’ Books” but not before the headline had been reprinted on other news sources.
Zero sleep last night after some quite amazing news which I'm not allowed to share…yet.
— Anthony Horowitz (@AnthonyHorowitz) February 5, 2014
Philip Reeve tells Girls Heart Books why he has become a digital hermit during the first part of 2014:
…for the moment I’ve stopped using Twitter and Facebook. It wasn’t that they were distracting me from writing – I work in a souped-up shed in the garden where there’s no internet access. It was worse than that! They were distracting me from reading.
Kent University has been forced to withdraw and apologise for an online description of its Creative Writing course that was clumsily disparaging towards the writing of children’s books, following a wave of protests on Twitter, including from the author SF Said, who pointed out (see below) that the university’s initial apology might be seen by some as compounding the insult:
Kent University’s School of English has performed a screeching handbrake turn and professed itself “penitent” after Twitter erupted over a description of their creative writing programme which implied that children’s fiction was a lower form of writing than adult fiction.
The Kent University website suggested that teachers at the Centre for Creative Writing “love great literature and don’t see any reason why our students should not aspire to produce it … We love writing that is full of ideas, but that is also playful, funny and affecting. You won’t write mass-market thrillers or children’s fiction on our programmes.”
This was enough for the children’s writer SF Said to publicly challenge the department, tweeting: “@UniKentWriting You say here “great literature” is one thing; children’s books etc another. Can you see the problem?”
The Centre for Creative Writing replied to the author of the award-winning children’s book Varjak Pa at the end of last week, joking, “Sorry for the slow response. We were writing adult novels.” Adding that unlike many creative writing courses that “claim to teach a bit of everything”, the department doesn’t teach YA or children’s books, just “literary novels”.
After a storm of criticism from children’s writers, the department’s attitude began to shift, tweeting: “We are penitent! The offending passage will be removed. As soon as we can work out how to do it,” and promising “the author of the offending passage will be paraded through Canterbury in chains, pelted with copies of Harry Potter and The Hunger Games”.
The climbdown received a cool reception from Said, who offered thanks for acknowledging the problem, as well as a little advice: “treating children’s books like a joke again may not be the answer!”
The Times has dispensed with the services of its regular children’s books reviewer, Amanda Craig.
When Craig reported this fact on Twitter yesterday afternoon there was a flood of protest against the decision.
According to Craig, it was an economising measure and the reviewing of children’s books will now be done ‘in-house’. The Times, as far as I am aware, has not confirmed the reason for Craig’s dismissal, or given any public indication of what its arrangements will be henceforth for the coverage of children’s and young adult publishing.
Here is a small selection from the Twitter Protest:
Very angry to hear about The Times's treatment of Amanda Craig. What folly.What ignorance. What contempt for children's reading.
— Philip Pullman (@PhilipPullman) November 20, 2013
Amanda Craig told to leave The Times. This is a seriously bad day for YA fiction (and literacy) in the UK.
— Anthony Horowitz (@AnthonyHorowitz) November 20, 2013
— Mary Hoffman (@MARYMHOFFMAN) November 20, 2013
Stunned to hear @TheTimesBooks are dropping their one and only children's book reviewer Amanda Craig for – 'in-house reviews' – WHAT?
— Katherine Langrish (@KathLangrish) November 20, 2013
Just heard Amanda Craig has been dropped by the Times. Very, very bad day for children's books and book reviewing in general
— Chris Priestley (@crispriestley) November 20, 2013
— MG Harris (@RealMGHarris) November 20, 2013
— Katherine Rundell (@kdbrundell) November 20, 2013
— Sarah Dyer (@iamsarahdyer) November 20, 2013
— Margo Lanagan (@margolanagan) November 20, 2013
— Sarah Churchwell (@sarahchurchwell) November 20, 2013
— Helen Boyle (@InklingPress) November 20, 2013
— Meg Rosoff (@megrosoff) November 20, 2013
V sad to hear that the great champion of children's (and adult's) literature @AmandaPCraig has been sacked by The Times. Bad day for books.
— Matt Haig (@matthaig1) November 20, 2013
@AmandaPCraig What on earth? Surely not Amanda! Terrible news….
— Ian Beck (@ianarchiebeck) November 20, 2013
— Terence Blacker (@TerenceBlacker) November 20, 2013
@AmandaPCraig absolutely can't believe this news, I am so very sorry. And cross. Kids books deserve great book reviewers!
— Clare Hall-Craggs (@loveswimming) November 20, 2013
— Joanne Harris (@Joannechocolat) November 20, 2013