George Bernard Shaw once quipped that ‘youth is wasted on the young’. Was he issuing sage wisdom about ageing … or was he just a huge fan of The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants?
From The Goldfinch to Vernon God Little, Goodbye, Columbus to Jane Eyre, there’s a long history of coming-of-age novels targeted squarely at an adult audience. Young adult books, meanwhile, are increasingly attracting their own armies of impassioned older readers. What is it about bildungsroman narratives that continues to fascinate adults, and what distinguishes an ‘adult’ coming-of-age story from a work of young adult fiction? Do we find a sense of catharsis in revisiting the heady emotions of youth – albeit from the safe distance of (apparent) maturity?
Tegan Bennett Daylight writes for adults, young adults, and children, and her new short story collection, Six Bedrooms, offers glimpses of the angst, embarrassment, and beauty of adolescence. Liam Pieper’s charming works of memoir interrogate his own misspent youth. And in his celebrated debut Shadowboxing, Tony Birch captures the experience of growing up in inner-Melbourne in the 1960s.
With host Toni Jordan, they’ll explore what it means to read and write about young adulthood from a grown-up perspective – and share the coming-of-age stories that have meant the most to them.
Toni Jordan is the author of six novels including the international best-seller Addition, Nine Days, which was awarded Best Fiction at the 2012 Indie Awards, and Our Tiny, Useless Hearts (2016), which was longlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award and for the Voss Literary Award. Toni ho... Read more
Tegan Bennett Daylight is a critic, teacher and fiction writer. She is the author of several books for children and teenagers, including the novels Bombora, What Falls Away and Safety. Her stories appear in a wide range of Australian journals, including Griffith Review, Meanjin and Best Australian S... Read more
Liam Pieper is an author and journalist. His first book was a memoir, The Feel-Good Hit of the Year, shortlisted for the National Biography Award and the Ned Kelly Best True Crime award. His second was the Penguin Special Mistakes Were Made, a volume of humorous essays. He was co-recipient of the 20... Read more
Tony Birch is a founding member of the Melbourne School of Discontent. He has published three novels; The White Girl, Ghost River and Blood. He is also the author of Shadowboxing and three short story collections, Father’s Day, The Promise and Common People. In 2017 he was awarded the Pa... Read more
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