What’s the deal with diversity? It’s a hot topic in YA literature, but why is it important? Journalist and author Sarah Ayoub is joined by writers Randa Abdel-Fattah, Erin Gough and Will Kostakis to discuss why portrayals of Australian teenagers in books should be real rather than random. How can writers use more than just culture to create characters we can relate to? Find out what roles family, class, gender and sexuality can play in the books we read.

Supported by the City of Parramatta.

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Randa Abdel-Fattah (Australian)

Randa Abdel-Fattah

Randa Abdel-Fattah is a prominent Palestinian Egyptian Muslim writer, former lawyer, anti-racism advocate and Islamophobia scholar. She is a postdoctoral research fellow at Macquarie University researching the generational impact of the war on terror on Muslim and non-Muslim youth. Randa’s books include Coming of Age in the War on TerrorIslamophobia and Everyday Multiculturalism. Randa is the multi-award-winning author of 11 novels published in over 20 countries, including multiple translations and stage productions in the US and Australia.

Will Kostakis (Australian)

Will Kostakis

Will Kostakis is a writer of all things, from celebrity news stories that score cease and desist letters, to tweets for professional wrestlers. That said, he’s best known for his award-winning YA novels, including The First Third and The Sidekicks. Most recently, Will has applied his trademark style to the fantasy genre, with Monuments and its sequel, Rebel Gods.

Dr Sarah Ayoub (Australian)

Dr Sarah Ayoub

Sarah Ayoub is a journalist, author and academic based in Sydney. She teaches journalism and writing at the University of Sydney and University of Notre Dame, and her work has appeared in The Sydney Morning Herald, The Guardian, The Australian, ELLE, Marie Claire and more. Sarah completed a PhD examining interventionist intersectional narratives in Australian YA, which inspired her forthcoming novel, The Cult of Romance, set in Western Sydney and Lebanon. Her debut picture book, The Love That Grew, is out in 2022.