Five questions for Louise O'Neill

Louise O'Neill, author of Asking For It (Quercus), answers five questions about her book and YA.

What is Asking For It about?
Asking For It is about an 18 year old girl called Emma O' Donovan who lives in a small town in west Cork. She's beautiful, clever, and popular; she appears to have the world at her feet. One night she goes to a party, she drinks too much and takes drugs, awaking the next morning to find that she's been thrown on the front porch of her house with no recollection as to how she got there. It's only when photos emerge on social media that she begins to piece together exactly what happened to her the night before.

What does it mean to be on the YA Book Prize shortlist?
I'm thrilled. It's such a strong list, some of my favourite books of the last year have been shortlisted. I feel honoured to be included. I know from last year how well run this award is and what a huge impact the win had on my career.

Why do you think your book should win?
I'm Irish so I find this question difficult to answer! I'm not going to lie, it's always nice to win awards. It's especially nice for all the other people involved behind the scenes, my editor, my agent, and all the incredible people at Quercus who worked so hard on Asking For It. I would like to win on their behalf.

What is special about YA in the UK and Ireland?
The YA that the UK and Ireland has been producing recently has been exciting, brave, and is pushing the boundaries of what we see as 'traditional' fiction for young adults. It feels almost brutally honest at times.

What kind of YA books do you like to read?
I like to read beautifully rendered, quite literary YA fiction. Eliza Wass, Jandy Nelson, and Deirdre Sullivan all excel at this. Catherine Doyle is someone to watch as well - her books have some of the best pacing in publishing.

Louise O'Neill took part in a Twitter chat on Wednesday 4th May, hosted by @yabookprize. Read a recap of the #TeamONeill chat here.

Picture of O'Neill: Ronan Lang