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Title: Writing characters from under-represented communities : a perspective from an emerging young adult fiction writer
Author: Hehir, Sylvia
ISNI:       0000 0004 7427 4004
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2018
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The category of young adult (YA) fiction encompasses a wide range of genres; but despite this generic diversity, it has so far failed to represent the full range of communities that make up contemporary British society. Discussions are ongoing between professionals in the publishing industry and campaigning individuals and organisations who are aiming to redress this imbalance. Writers making new work are in a position to help effect a change, but acknowledging and responding to the call for inclusion can be far from straightforward, with questions being raised such as: ‘how far can a writer stray from their own lived experience?’ and ‘how can a writer avoid tokenism or cultural appropriation when writing for inclusion?’ This thesis consists of a new YA contemporary novel, Sea Change, and an accompanying critical essay, which reflects on the challenges I encountered while aiming to write for inclusion. Set in the Scottish Highlands, Sea Change is a contemporary YA crime novel, in which the world of the sixteen-year-old protagonist, Alex, is thrown into turmoil when he discovers a dead body next to his fishing boat. The decisions Alex makes following this discovery set in motion the plot of the story. The narrative, as it unfolds, facilitates the exploration of themes frequently associated with adolescence, such as friendship, risk-taking and the maturation into an adult identity, along with themes specifically linked to Alex’s status as a member of marginalised communities because of his sexuality and social class, such as prejudice, acute stress brought on by economic pressure, and low self-esteem. This thesis, then, reviews the opinions and recommendations being expressed by campaigners for greater diversity, and exposes the uncertainties and challenges a writer faces when aiming to write for inclusion.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.F.A.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: NE Print media ; PZ Childrens literature