The Epic Young Adult panel featured acclaimed novelists Nic Stone, Victoria Aveyard, Adam Silvera, Marissa Meyer, and Dhonielle Clayton.
The panel starts at 3 hours and 25 minutes.
In the Epic Young Adult panel for BookConline 2020, authors Nic Stone (Shuri, a Black Panther novel), Adam Silvera (Infinity Son), Victoria Aveyard (Red Queen series), and Marissa Meyer (The Renegades Trilogy) talk about their genre, their voices, and the weight of responsibility of using fiction for marginalized voices.
The panel began as each author talked about the YA genre, specifically how, in many ways, it was a way to practice and voice the things that they weren’t able to do when they were younger. The writers unanimously agreed on the genre’s importance, for a multitude of reasons.
YA was about stories of rebellion and optimism, agency and a budding responsibility. Being a young adult meant stories about untethered youths seeking to rebel and develop as individuals that are coming to terms with their place in the world. There is a power as a YA author to translate reality into fiction. The genre gives a voice to those underrepresented, underplaying adversity, while including politics intentionally within their works.
The following is an abridged version of how each author utilized their talking time:
Nic emphasized how her life as a black woman gives her inherent responsibilities of writing representation fiction, especially in 2020. She admitted how the weight of always needing to write about black representation is difficult, as she can’t avoid the hard-hitting issues about Black Americans. She revealed how she’s always receiving pushback if her stories goes too far or aren’t political enough, and the pressures of always writing about identity.
Victoria talked about history and how current events, framed by historical rebellions, mirror scenarios in her Red Queen series. Elements of her story can be seen in the times of Benito Mussolini, and her series had grown over time from the Occupy Wall Street movement to the Trump Administration. The book showed a reflection of real-world villains and an oppressed group uprising. Surprisingly, Aveyard is shocked that, despite writing about this and tyrannical histories, people can’t incorporate this narrative into the real world — though she finds joy about making rebellions that stress on the importance of the quality of living, not just survival.
Adam talked about his transformation as a writer, inevitably writing about queer characters, who finally get to be the heroes. He defended the power of representation and the importance of finally being able to make characters that represented both his circle and his life — especially, as a guy growing up in South Bronx. He also stressed how difficult it was currently to be able to feel normal, or even just be, given our moment in time and the crazy things happening on a daily basis. He talks about depression and how human beings are complex and layered characters, filled with joy and sadness, happiness and chaos, and how some days are very difficult.
Marissa talked about her career and characters on opposite sides of the morality spectrum. She wanted to change the world initially by writing and finding grey areas between good and evil. She also stressed that her favorite scenes to write are just characters hanging out and being people, domestic moments in times of normality, and what that means.
And that was basically it. The Epic YA was a solid and informative panel stressing on the importance of representation and why the voices of youth mattered. All for a solid segment in an informative online BookCon.