The Queen of Teen award honours those authors that make teenage girls squeal in a none ‘Edward Cullen’ sort of way.
Young Adult (or YA) fiction has become the ultimate ‘cool fiction’ over the past few years as it has been reinvigorated by the intervention of the blogosphere and the injection of fresh talent through the self publishing phenomenon.
Nowadays, from J.K.Rowling to Cathy Cassidy the world of fiction is dominated by the adolescent market with even journalists like Grace Dent and publishing execs like Cecily Von Ziegesar (The Gossip Girl and the It Girl series) getting in on the act with this their own book series aimed at the lucrative teenage market.
The phenomenal, and frankly alarming, success of Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series and its associated franchises shows the potential of young, impressionable twelve to sixteen year olds and their desire to escape the brutal teenage world of acne, angst and embarrassing parents. As such one of the most glamorous book prizes was born; the Queen of Teen.
Now usually, the clue being in the name, the award goes to the female writer that most speaks to teenage girls however this year’s shortlist features a twist; a nomination for first time writer and possessor of a Y chromosome, James Dawson aka author of the best selling Hollow Pike released this year.
Keeping his spooky story of witchcraft and murder in the dark of night company is former winner Cathy Cassidy, Maureen Johnson, Sarah Webb, Joanna Nadin, Cathy Hopkins, Samantha Mackintosh, Chris Higgins, Hayley Long and SC Ransom.
Does this new gender blindness suggest a change afoot in the publishing world? Fifteen years ago, when J.K.Rowling was starting out she was advised to changed her professional name from ‘Joanne’ to ‘J.K.’ because young boys wouldn’t read books written by a woman. This nomination proves that when it comes to fiction, a man can write in a teenage girl’s just as well as a woman and with any luck in a few years from now people women can do the same.
Dawson told the Guardian that he did not think he has ‘got a cat in hell’s chance of winning’ because his novel is darker and more sinister than most of the ‘fluff’ on the list. However he said he was glad to be nominated because he want to show ‘that it doesn’t matter if you’re a boy or a girl as long as you enjoy the book.’
The Queen of Teen Award is decided by an online poll of nine to eighteen year old girls started by The Book People and designed to get young girls off the computer and away from modern technology for just long enough to engage with modern literature.
To winner will be announced in July, to vote go to The Queen of Teen Website.