Writers and readers of young adult fiction converged on the Design Hub last Monday night for the first in RMIT’s present tense lecture series. The event, ‘Writing the YA that Teens Deserve’ was curated by PWE Program Manager Penny Johnson. present tense is a free series of public events celebrating the rich diversity of writing at RMIT University, supported by the Writing and Publishing programs and non/fictionLab. The series is curated by Professor David Carlin, a non/fiction Lab co-director.
RMIT’s Professional Writing and Editing teacher Clare Strahan (The Learning Curves of Vanessa Partridge) opened the sold out event. Writer, reviewer and literary agent Danielle Binks sat down with award-winning novelists Alice Pung (Laurinda), Simmone Howell (Girl Defective) and Cath Crowley (Words in Deep Blue). Speakers explored questions about the responsibility of YA writers to their audience and pondered questions about how to write compelling, authentic stories. The authors spoke about why they write YA fiction, their no-go topics (if they had any) and their understanding of the readership and what teens ‘deserve’. The event was a chance for students, staff, alumni (including writers Suzi Zail and Kate O’Donnell) and the interested public to chat over refreshments and get inspired.
There are seven events planned for this year’s present tense series, which has been growing since its inception in 2016. The next in the series will be the Unlecture curated by Tresa LeClerc and Piri Altraide. This performative event aims to overturn the traditional Australian style lecture. The theme for this year’s Unlecture is ‘Movement’ and it will feature Yorta Yorta song carrier and RRR broadcaster Neil Morris and Congolese born, NZ raised Melbourne based poet and spoken word artist wāni. It is scheduled for 6pm on Tuesday the 24th of July.