YA Book Prize: 5 Questions with James Dawson

YA Book Prize: 5 Questions with James Dawson

Describe your book to us in one sentence?
 
A shy boarding school girl must solve the chilling mystery of "Bloody Mary" before the vengeful ghost comes to claim her soul.
 
What does it mean to be on the first YA Book Prize shortlist?
 
I'm thrilled! I didn't think a book like Say Her Name was very "awardsy" so it came as a total surprise. Of all my novels Say Her Name was the one I enjoyed writing the most so it's fabulous to see it be recognised. I also love how diverse the shortlist is - it's brilliant to see such different books being celebrated.
 
Why do you think your book should win?
 
I think all the authors deserve credit, but I would LOVE to see a scary book win. No-one ever takes horror very seriously, which I can't fathom as I think it's a very particular skill to master. I think books that make readers FEEL things should win prizes, but very rarely do book which make readers feel FEAR win awards. 
 
What is your all time favourite YA book?
 
I've said it before (and I'll say it again) I think Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman ticks every box.
 
What is special about YA in the UK and Ireland?
 
This one's easy. I think we keep it real better than anyone else. We aren't afraid to get our hands dirty and look at the grit and darkness of being a teen.
 
Next week: Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison