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Read Local – #LoveOzYa

September 1, 2015

#readlocal #LoveOzYa
In May 2015 ALIA published some lists of Australia’s most borrowed library books. Australian authors were represented well in every category except Young Adult Fiction, where only two of the ten authors are Australian. The list is:
1. Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins (American/science fiction adventure)
2. Divergent series by Veronica Roth (American/science fiction adventure)
3. The Fault in our Stars by John Green (American/romance)
4. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (Australian/Holocaust)
5. Looking for Alaska by John Green (American/romance)
6. Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan (American/fantasy adventure)
7. The Maze Runner by James Dashner (American/science fiction)
8. Every Breath by Ellie Marney (Australian/thriller)
9. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green (American/romance)
10. Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare (American/fantasy adventure)

The lack of local representation on the list was a source of concern to some people in the Australian youth literature community, so they’ve taken inspiration from their UK-counterparts in creating a #LoveOzYA campaign.

In 2013 UK book blogger Lucy Powrie started Project UKYA ‘to raise awareness of UKYA fiction and authors.’ In much the same way, Australian YA (OzYA) authors are using the hashtag to get the conversation started with readers, librarians and teachers who may not be aware of how much OzYA is struggling to stand out even to local readers in the global YA market.

As emerging YA author Danielle Binks writes in a blog post for the Stella Prize, ‘More than anything, we are trying to show young Australian readers that their voices matter – that stories about them and for them are important.’

So what can be done to increase the awareness and visibility of Australian Young Adult titles? Here are a few ideas:
• Buy your books locally, from Australian booksellers, and ask them for recommendations

• Danielle Binks of AlphaReader has compiled a list of Australian read-a-likes for popular American titles– which goes to show it’s not for lack of quality or choice that readers are choosing American over Australian YA

• Aussie YA author Trinity Doyle (A&U, ‘Pieces of Sky’) created a #LoveOzYa poster based on these “read-a-likes”, that can be displayed online, or in your library

Ellie Marney, author of the ‘Every’ trilogy (Allen & Unwin) and one of only two Australian authors on the ALIA most-borrowed list, not to mention the only author on that list that hasn’t been adapted to the big screen, wrote a heartfelt blog after the announcement, in which she also questioned the lack of Australian books, suggesting ways to support Aussie YA

• Check out Readings Books’ recommended reading list of OzYA titles

• Follow the Centre for Youth Literature’s Inky Awards, which has a category for Australian titles

• Keep up with the Children’s Book Council of Australia’s shortlisted and notable books

• ALIA’s Sue McKerracher says, ‘We suggest authors get in touch with their local library. Libraries are always interested in offering author talks and promoting local authors through their websites and social media. It’s a great way for authors to build on their social media following and fan base.’

Read Watch Play have created some lists of Australian YA based on location, to fit in with September’s theme #localread. Follow us on Tumblr, copy and share the lists on Pinterest or join the conversation on Twitter on 29 September starting at 8pm Australian Eastern Standard Time and let us know your favourite #LoveOzYa #localread

• Follow the @LoveOzYA Twitter account, the #LoveOzYA instagram account or the Goodreads group to be part of the discussion.

What’s your favorite book set in your city? Let us know in the comments

This blog post was based on the following articles by Danielle Binks, an emerging YA writer, and book reviewer on her personal blog Alpha Reader:

#LoveOzYa for Kill Your Darlings
#LoveOzYa and the Stella Prize Schools Program
#LoveOzYa is here to Stay for Kids Book Review: and
How #LoveOzYa is turning teens off The Hunger Games and towards Australian YA fiction by Linda Morris

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