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Writing for our young readers is the most important fiction of all

Young adult fiction needn’t be cosy, bedtime reading, nor are its authors in any way stifled – on the contrary, they are among the most creative writers out there

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Author John Boyne. Picture by Owen Breslin

Author John Boyne. Picture by Owen Breslin

John Boyne photographed by Owen Breslin

John Boyne photographed by Owen Breslin

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Author John Boyne. Picture by Owen Breslin

Some years ago, the novelist Martin Amis gave an interview in which he asserted that the only circumstances under which he would write a children’s book were if he had suffered a serious brain injury. “In my view,” he said, “fiction is freedom and any restraints on that are intolerable.”

Leaving aside the fact that it’s ridiculous to think that writing children’s fiction places any restraints on the author at all – if anything, it has the opposite effect – the most surprising element of the quote is Amis’s haughty disregard for young adult fiction. One could make the case that it’s the most important fiction of all. After all, is there a serious adult reader or writer out there who has not enjoyed a lifetime of reading because they discovered a love of books when they were young?


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