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)

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Randa is the multi-award winning author of 11 books whose Young Adult and children’s works are published in over fifteen countries. Her debut novel Does My Head Look Big In This is currently being adapted as a feature film and her books have been adapted to the stage. Randa is also a postdoctoral research fellow at Macquarie University where she is undertaking a project comparing the generational impact of the war on terror on Muslim and non-Muslim youth born into a post 9/11 world.

Will Kostakis (Australian)

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Will Kostakis is a writer of all things, from celebrity news stories that score cease and desist letters, to tweets for professional wrestlers. He’s best known for his award-winning YA novels, The Sidekicks and The First Third. His first fantasy novel Monuments releases in spring 2019.

Sarah Ayoub (Australian)

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Sarah Ayoub is a freelance journalist and author. Her writing has appeared in publications including The Guardian, The Sun-Herald, and the Sunday Telegraph. Sarah teaches journalism at The University of Notre Dame in Sydney, where she is currently researching the representations of culturally diverse female teens in Australian Young Adult literature. She is the author of Hate is Such a Strong Word and The Yearbook Committee and is passionate about empowering young people to see the value in their own personal stories. In 2018 Sarah has been a Mentor for the Youth Curators as part of the 2018 All Day YA Program.