Author James Dawson, visited Waterstones in Manchester yesterday to talk about his new novel Under My Skin and discuss his other YA non-fiction works including Being A Boy and This Book Is Gay.
Festival Director, James Draper, introducing the acclaimed YA author, said,
“We are delighted to welcome James Dawson to the Manchester Chidlren’s Book Festival. We are in the presence of royality this afternoon, as James is the reigning ‘Queen of Teen.’ James has previously worked as a teacher, specialising in PHSCE and behaviour, and his work has been translated into more than ten languages.”
His work takes a frank and funny approach to puberty, sex and relationships, and This Book is Gay, an inclusive and uncensored look at what it’s like to grow up LGBT. James took to the mic to describe how his book, This Book is Gay came about,
“My publisher Hot Key Books, asked me to write a How To Be Gay.”
He described being hesitant until he thought of a better title! “It was a nightmare to write,” James told us.
“I was relying on other people who I was not paying to talk about their experiences. I felt bullish but the finished product is the one I’m the most proud of.”
A comic and informative reading from This Book is Gay followed, and James discussed his experiences growing up in the 1980s. He told the audience,
“Young adults of 2015 will never have to worry about being the only gay in the village because of the internet. But the internet does have a lot of contradictory advice.”
James wanted to write the book so that teens felt less alone as they struggled with their sexuality.
MCBF: What inspired you to write for young adults?
MCBF: You’ve written about themes such as sexuality and gender. What are the challenges of writing about those topics?
MCBF: You’ve also written teen thrillers. What do you think makes a good thriller?