Catching up with 2017's #YA10

Catching up with 2017's #YA10

Ahead of the 2018 YA Book Prize shortlist announcement, we catch up with some of last year's #YA10 authors.

Sara Barnard

What have you been up to since you were shortlisted for the YA Book Prize last year?

I've been busy editing and writing! My new book, Goodbye, Perfect, came out in February so most of my time has been dedicated to that!

How was your experience of being at the Hay Festival and part of last year’s YA Book Prize in general?

I loved being a part of it. It was such a great list of brilliant writers, and being able to spend time with them at the Hay Festival - the highlight of the literary calendar - was such an honour.

What are you working on at the moment?

I'm promoting Goodbye, Perfect and also working on my next book, which is all under wraps at the moment...

What YA book from the UK and Ireland from the last year would you most highly recommend?

Wing Jones by Katherine Webber. It's a beautiful book with a lot of heart and a truly empowering message for young women.

 

Laure Eve

What have you been up to since you were shortlisted for the YA Book Prize last year?

The highlight of the last few months was getting to visit Denmark for the first time in my life, to do a short tour for my Danish publisher. Denmark in Autumn, guys. I recommend. The rest of my time has been a whirlwind of pretty much continuous deadlines. Such is the writer's life.

How was your experience of being at the Hay Festival and part of last year’s YA Book Prize in general?

It was my first time at Hay, but I'd heard all about it beforehand. I was so suitably gushy they even let me write about it. I was extremely happy the YA Book Prize came into being way before I was shortlisted for it, so you can imagine how fabulous it was to be part of it. It feels like an important industry focus.

What are you working on at the moment?

I'm working on finishing The Curses, the sequel to The Graces, and then two more projects that I can only give vague hints about. One you'll like if you're into Arthurian legend. The other you'll like if you're into Dangerous Liaisons. That's all I'll say...

What YA book from the UK and Ireland from the last year would you most highly recommend?

Wing Jones by Katherine Webber. It's a lovely, heartfelt and empowering book.

 

Clare Furniss

What have you been up to since you were shortlisted for the YA Book Prize last year?

I’d love to say it’s been a year of research trips to exotic locations and glamorous literary parties but in reality it’s mainly been write, procrastinate, eat chocolate, repeat… the usual really!

How was your experience of being at the Hay Festival and part of last year’s YA Book Prize in general?

It was amazing! I loved being part of the #YA10 and getting to hang out with the other authors, who are not only hugely talented but all round lovely people too. The YA Book Prize events at Hay were brilliant – it felt like such a celebration of everything that’s wonderful about UKYA.

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on another YA novel right now. Like my other books it’s about family and friendship but it’s also a bit political. There’s so much going on in the world at the moment I found it impossible not to let that affect my writing.

What YA book from the UK and Ireland from the last year would you most highly recommend?

It’s hard to choose just one but I loved Things A Bright Girl Can Do by Sally Nicholls.

 

Patrice Lawrence

What have you been up to since you were shortlisted for the YA Book Prize last year?

The big headline is that I gave up my full time job to focus on writing. My second YA book, Indigo Donut, was published last year, so I have been out and about promoting my books and talking with young people about belonging and identity.  I have become a Patron Of Reading at Duke Aldridge Academy encouraging young people to read beyond the limited confines of the curriculum and to understand that their voices are important. I also had my first overseas visit to international schools in Frankfurt where the ideas around belonging and identity resonated with students with roots in different parts of the world.

I was also lucky enough to be commissioned to write a story for Nosy Crow's Make More Noise anthology celebrating women's suffrage. I wanted the world to rediscover Christine Malvery, a mixed heritage woman from Lahore, who campaigned on behalf of London's exploited women in the early twentieth century.

How was your experience of being at the Hay Festival and part of last year’s YA Book Prize in general?

I find Hay quite daunting. This year, though, the YA drinks that had been organised for the shortlistees a couple of weeks before meant that I had met and clinked wine glasses with many of the other authors. The tapas the night before were a treat, too.

The event day itself is a blur. I remember the poignancy of Sara Barnard's letter to her friend about the power of female friendship and me comparing writing to an ice cream parlour in Dalston. I didn't expect to win. The competition was ferocious. I still look up surprised when people mention it. It was a gorgeous moment, not least because my lovely agent, Caroline Sheldon, made the hefty day trip to Hay just in case.

What are you working on at the moment?

I'm on the third draft of a book about siblings who leave a closed religious community and end up in a flat above a kebab shop in Hackney trying to work out Harry Potter, American show tunes and the force of online influence on teenage relationships. There will also be dancing in Soho basement arcades.

What YA book from the UK and Ireland from the last year would you most highly recommend?

Irfan Master's Out Of Heart. It's a subtle, beautifully written book about loss, family and love in an east London Muslim family. It's a book that explores different ways to be a man and made me cry more than once.

 

Peadar O'Guilin

What have you been up to since you were shortlisted for the YA Book Prize last year?

I have been making friends. I didn’t know that many people in the YA community before this, but since last year, I have attended some of the appropriate conventions and have had the great privilege of working with and even interviewing my fellow writers. They’re brilliant.

How was your experience of being at the Hay Festival and part of last year’s YA Book Prize in general?

Hay was a magical experience. First, they let me stay in the most beautiful house imaginable with a charming hostess and an eclectic array of breakfast companions. Then, there was the venue itself. All those booklovers in one place! Real, live superstars within touching distance! And finally, I had the honour of sharing a stage and a dinner table with my fellow nominees. Each of them gave a marvellous presentation and no two were even remotely alike.

What are you working on at the moment?

My current project is an epic fantasy set in a world that closely resembles 1970s Africa. There’s the usual cast of witches, demons and callow youths destined for greatness. Some unpleasantness may be involved.
 
What YA book from the UK and Ireland from the last year would you most highly recommend?

I don’t always read things that have just come out, but I would highly recommend Alice Broadway’s Ink. Or Tangleweed and Brine by our own Deirdre O’Sullivan, The Fallen Children by David Owen or Not Yet Dark by Simon Clark. Shall I go on? Enough?

 

Francesca Simon

What have you been up to since you were shortlisted for the YA Book Prize last year?

I’ve published a new picture book, Hack and Whack for Faber, with another one, The Goat Cafe coming out later this year. I’ve also been writing a libretto for a YA opera with the composer Gavin Higgins for the Royal Opera House.

How was your experience of being at the Hay Festival and part of last year’s YA Book Prize in general?

I had a great time, especially the chance to spend the evening and do a panel with my fellow finalists.

What are you working on at the moment?

My opera! It is very all-consuming.

What YA book from the UK and Ireland from the last year would you most highly recommend?

I’m afraid I read so much YA in 2017 I have been reading adult novels this year…

 

Martin Stewart

What have you been up to since you were shortlisted for the YA Book Prize last year?

I’ve been very busy, which has been wonderful! My second novel, The Sacrifice Box, came out in January—so a lot of my time was spent polishing up the manuscript. I’ve also been busy with events, visiting  loads of schools to promote reading, writing, and giving students advice on how to develop their language skills. It’s been a good year!

How was your experience of being at the Hay Festival and part of last year’s YA Book Prize in general?

Absolutely fantastic. Even being at Hay was the fulfilment of a lifelong ambition, so to be part of such an exciting event was just incredible. I had a great time in both the events, and so enjoyed the company of the other shortlistees—we all got on so well, and it felt very special to be part of it all. This year’s batch are in for a real treat!
 
What are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on a few things just now: including a sequel to The Sacrifice Box, and a post-truth psychological horror set in the Arctic. The cauldron of a writer’s mind is ever bubbling...

What YA book from the UK and Ireland from the last year would you most highly recommend?

Oh, ONE? That’s hard. I’m going to go for Moïra Fowley-Doyle’s Spellbook of the Lost and Found. I really love her otherworldly, iridescent, contemp-Irish gothic.