Sunday, April 17, 2011

Brent Hartinger: How Far Is Too Far? #scbwiwwa

Reported by Chadwick Gillenwater

Brent Hartinger gave a talk titled "HOW FAR IS TOO FAR? The Limits of Teen Lit."

He started with a brief history of the YA genre:
1950s: everything’s “peachy”
1960s: new funding for school libraries and The Outsiders published
1970s: Judy Blume
1980s: school funding cuts = publishing disaster
1990s: edgier, more relevant books and the birth of a “new” genre

Brent showed us where the “limits” of teen lit are. Language, sexuality, homosexuality, guns, violence, rape, religion, etc. If we choose to explore these themes we must be prepared for controversy, but do not let this keep us from writing our books. With that said, we must write responsibly. No librarian is going to get behind a book that was written irresponsibly.

Brent said there is a difference between writing a book as an instruction manual for how a teenager should behave rather than writing a book on how teenagers actually are. What book do you think the teenager will actually read???

We must keep in mind that the “hot buttons” in society shift and change. The rules of today may be gone tomorrow.

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