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Writing for YA and the breakthrough - The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

10 April 2017

'I actually say I write books about adults or about young people. I think it's an important distinction. But in the young people's books I've never tried to use simpler language, simpler stories or simpler themes. I've written the book I would normally write, but with a young person at the centre of it.

Most writers for young people these days aren't thinking about children as being little kids. They're tackling serious subjects, writing about issues that are really faced by young people today, and that's what they want to read. Young people want their reading experiences to reflect their own lives...

It gave me freedom to write and t gave me an audience. It was my fifth novel and I'd been struggling to find an audience, particularly on an international level. I know I'll never write a book that reaches as many as The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas - that's a once-in-a-lifetime experience. But that book was a great gift at the right time in my life.'

John Boyne, author of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and The Heart's Invisible Furies, in the Observer