Some of the best-known figures of the literary world will gather this weekend at Smock Alley Theatre, in Dublin, for DeptCon1, a conference that celebrates and interrogates young adult (YA) fiction.
YA fiction is the largest-growing genre in contemporary fiction, accounting for almost 30 per cent of the children’s book market, according to Eason, which is organising DeptCon1. However, despite the variety of novels directed at their age group, it can be difficult to get teenagers to turn off their smartphones and pick up a book.
Elaina Ryan, director of Children’s Books Ireland, says the biggest challenge facing parents, teachers and librarians trying to encourage teenagers to read is “competition for time. When [young readers] are making the transition from primary to secondary school, all of a sudden they have much greater access to sports and clubs, the internet and screen time, and this means there are a lot more activities for them to choose from in their leisure time.