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Writing for young people

2 January 2017

‘I never felt like I was getting at the truth. I wanted to be told the truth. So when I write for young people I write for the young person I was. And it's only now that I find I have a lot of compassion for that kid and the things that he was worrying about. I was a really anxious kid, and I just needed someone to talk to about it, and nobody would...

YA is about how you experience a novel. If you experience it as a teenager, and you change your point of view that way while reading, then it's probably YA. I also think that YA fiction tends to be about exploring boundaries, whereas adult fiction tends to be about being trapped by them. But it's ambiguous. Is Jane Eyre YA? To Kill a Mockingbird YA? Catcher in the Rye is very YA...

As a young person the one thing I always dreamt of was to hold a published book in my hand that I'd written. So, everything else seems like extra cake to me. It's cool. But I'm a novelist, and I want to hold that book in my hand.'

Patrick Ness, author of A Monster Calls (just released as a film for which he wrote the screenplay), Chaos Walking and Class (a BBC series)