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A preponderance of young and emerging authors
Authors tend to have a strong online presence
A focus on coming of age and identity
Friendship and romantic relationships placed on equal
Less prescriptive representation of masculinity, with
emotional sensitivity and artistic life foregrounded
Broken families or families experiencing conflict or
pressure were a common backdrop
Homosexuality treated as just one aspect of identity
rather than explicitly explored as an “issue”
The Sky so Heavy,
• Inky Awards 2014 -
Gold Inky (longlist)
• Aurealis Awards 2014
- Best Young Adult
The Sky So Heavy was her debut novel.
New novel, The Protected, released in June.
Lives on the south coast of NSW.
Blogs at All the King’s Horses
and tweets as Claire Zorn.
“A haunting dystopian novel in the vein of John Marsden”.
Speculative/post apocalyptic fiction.
Action takes place in Australia in the near future after
a nuclear accident.
Distinctive Blue Mountains/western Sydney setting brings
emotional resonance and authenticity to the story.
First person narrative style with a combination of present
and past tense/flashbacks.
Arresting opening which launches readers into the action.
Both thought-provoking and a page-turner: combines
action and suspense with a nuanced and realistic
exploration of ethical dilemmas and social issues.
Tense, taut and chilling yet also tender in its depiction of
Intertextuality used to reinforce themes eg. Heart of
Leaves itself open to the possibility of a sequel.
“As post-apocalypse YA novels go, this one is scarily realistic
… a powerful allegory with which to explain the asylum-
seeker humanitarian crisis in Australia.” Books Publishing
‘This novel takes its cues from Cormac McCarthy’s The
Road, albeit for a younger audience. It’s a well-paced read
with strong characters and a compelling narrative.’ Sunday
‘This accomplished and engrossing debut novel tells a
gripping story of survival. Highly recommended.’ Magpies
‘Absolutely brilliant. I simply couldn't put it down and read
it in its entirety in one sitting. … My only complaint is that I
need more. I have to know what happens and Ms Zorn has
left me in suspense. I shall stalk her now until she gives in.’
Diva Booknerd Blog 4.5 star review
Courage and perseverance
Ethics and choices
Identity: “what we are
when nobody’s watching”
Spirituality & religion
Art & music
Brother in the Land, Robert Swindells
Z for Zachariah, Robert C. O’Brien
Children of the Dust, Louise Lawrence
When the Wind Blows, Raymond Briggs
The Road, Cormac McCarthy
Tomorrow, When the War Began, John Marsden
How I Live Now, Meg Rosoff
Home and Away, John Marsden
Rosie Black Chronicles, Lara Morgan
When We Wake, Karen Healey
Teachers Notes available at UQP website:
The First Third,
• Inky Awards 2014 -
Gold Inky (longlist)
• Red Dot Students
Choice Book Awards
2013 – shortlist
*ebook also available
Was 19 when his first novel, Loathing Lola, was
released (now available as an ebook). He’s now 24.
In 2005, Will won the
Sydney Morning Herald
Young Writer of the Year
for a short story collection.|
Photo credit: Marina Pilatsikas
Warm, life-affirming celebration of family and
Set in recognisable Sydney location.
Autobiographical elements: “It started out as a
kernel of an idea: what if my grandmother gave
me her bucket list to complete? And from that,
out grew this novel about what it means to be a
grandson, a son and yourself. … It’s a more
personal novel than I expected to write… It’s not
about me, but there’s a lot of me in there.”
Bildungroman written in a wry, sardonic first person
Highly engaging, humorous style.
Similar to the traditional quest narrative – the hero
has three tasks to fulfil.
Colloquial/informal language enhances accessibility.
Facebook posts, Twitter posts and text messages are
interspersed throughout to add interest and humour.
The characters are authentic, sympathetic and warmly
Likeable and functional protagonist who represents a
non-traditional model of masculinity.
There were some elements of parody, but overall, the
warmth of the writing prevented the characters from
Presents a highly diverse spectrum of characters in an
Cultural identity /tradition
Coming of age
Death, grief & loss
Identity and Belonging
Acceptance & healing
Year 12/school life
Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta
Deadly Unna by Philip Gwynne
Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey
Willow Tree and Olive by Irini Savvides
Does My Head Look Big in This?
Teaching notes available on the Penguin website at
Melina Marchetta interviews Will Kostakis
Life in Outer
Space, Melissa Keil
• Winner of the 2013
• Inky Awards 2014 -
Gold Inky (longlist)
• YALSA Awards for
Best Fiction for Young
• Ena Noel Award 2014
Studied Cinema and Anthropology at
Worked as a high school teacher,
Middle Eastern tour guide, waitress,
community theatre dogsbody, and
IT help desk person. Now she is a
children’s book editor.
Previous books include Rabbit’s Year
and Rabbit and his Zodiac
Friends, illustrated by Jedda Robaard.
Second YA novel, The Incredible
Adventures of Cinnamon Girl, will be
published in September 2014.
‘a young adult romantic comedy that
combines some of my many loves –
movies, music, karate, the Astor
Theatre, Star Wars, and all things
Steeped in sub-culture and pop
While set in Melbourne, the school
scenes have a teen universality which
would make them resonate with
First person teenage narrative
Extensive use of jargon and slang
to create realistic characters and
an authentic school setting
Light, warm, playful tone.
‘Full of energy, wit and tenderness; this is one big-hearted and
unique book.’ – Leanne Hall
‘This charming story is like a modern YA-lit version of a John
Hughes movie – funny, sweet, gentle, awkward, and filled with
an endearing cast of odd ducks. A great choice for those who
wish to end their summers with a lighthearted romantic
comedy.” ―Publishers Weekly
“… this is a humorous, heartfelt and angst-y romance with the
potential to break the gender barrier.” ―Kirkus
“The supporting characters–Mike especially–are multifaceted
and real. Snappy banter and fish-out-of-water situations
combine with touching moments to create an entertaining and
diverting read.” ―Horn Book Magazine
“Made me smile so hard.” ―Looking on the Side of Wonder blog
“ADORABLE nerd-love story from down under! Star Wars and
World of Warcraft and music nerdery and horror films and
more. I want to hug every character.” ―Lindsay Smith blog
Love and romance
Separation & divorce
Art vs reality
High school life
Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares,
Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist,
Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
Paper Towns, John Green
The Perks of Being a Wallflower,
Beatle Meets Destiny,
Here and Now;
Spent her youth living and
travelling around Asia and North
America before moving to
Parramatta, where she has
worked as a teacher, arts worker
and editor for the past ten years.
Has recently published a
collection of short stories Small
She has won the Josephine Ulrick
Literature Award and the Qantas
Spirit of Youth Award
Teaches creative writing.
Dominated by a strong sense of place.
Driven by character and setting rather than plot.
Both lyrical and gritty: the world presented is a grimy,
“It’s a story that is very purposely local but I also want
it to be a story where the ‘West’ becomes larger than
one location, it becomes a place where stories are told
about ordinary places that gain a legendary status
through story telling.” – Felicity Castagna
…“about being an absolute insider in a place you know
as well as the back of your own hand. It’s a young
adult’s novel told through the eyes of Michael whose
life changes dramatically in the summer he turns 15.
Michael knows everything about the community he
lives in and through his stories, he lets the reader in; to
the unsettled lives of his family members, the friends
he meets in the McDonalds parking lot at night, the
swimming pool where he meets the one girl who will
acknowledge he’s alive and the classmates who spend
their mornings drooling at the Coke Factory on their
walk to school.” - Felicity Castagna
Constructed as a series of vignettes – poetic and
impressionistic in style
Highly descriptive and rich in sensual detail
Language is plain, pared back and unadorned eg. ‘I
never thought nothing bad could happen here and
then it did.',
A meditative, elegiac tone which
provides a unique contrast with
the often loud, bustling world
the author evokes.
Grief & death
Coming of age
“William Street” by Kenneth Slessor
The Story of Tom Brennan, J.C. Burke
Boys of Blood and Bone, David Metzenhan
Deadly, Unna by Philip Gwynne
Sleeping Dogs, Sonya Hartnett
Simple Gift and By the River, Steven Herrick
Cinnamon Rain, Emma Cameron
Incredible Stories: a stage 5 unit of work for English
http://incrediblestories.net/ - includes a 30 page
teaching program and assessment
Author’s website: http://www.felicitycastagna.com/
Has written television scripts for more than ten years.
Her first YA novel Six Impossible Things was
shortlisted for the 2011 CBCA Book of the Year, Older
A companion to Six Impossible Things, which one of
the main protagonists/narrators, Lou, was a minor
character in that book. The event which has occurred
in the narrative space between the two books provides
the impetus for her story.
A coming of age/rites of passage narrative: “A story
about first love and friendship at sixteen, fitting in,
and staying true to yourself.” - Fiona Wood
Heavily influenced by Romantic ideals of man finding
himself in nature and the role of the sublime.
The wilderness setting is created by evocative, sensual
descriptions which employ a range of literary devices:
‘The light falls from the sky like a sigh, deepening it
from blue to lavender spiked with stars. The air is so
cold and clean and eucalyptus-loaded it feels like a
health treatment.’ (p 54)
Influenced by “Romanticism –love/death/nature
/primacy of emotion/intuition/feelings, Iago, my lack
of affinity with the great outdoors,
jealousy, betrayal, mean-girl-friends,
the specious charm of celebrity…”
– Fiona Wood
Structure weaves together two alternate narrative
voices: Sibylla, written in first person, present tense,
and Lou whose point of view is written as first person
journal entries in the past tense.
Intertextuality and literary frames are used to reinforce
character dynamics and key themes and help us
interpret the action. eg. Lord of the Flies, Othello,
Romeo and Juliet, Walden, Dylan Thomas’, Christina
Rossetti, Wordsworth, Wilred Owen, Keats.
Modern/pop culture allusions also feature .eg. the
song “Blackbird”, “Changes” by David Bowie, Star Trek,
Playfulness with language is a key feature of the text.
Contrast plays a key role in defining character and
place eg. wild vs civilised.
Rites of passage/coming of age
Grieving and Healing
Identity & Individuality
Loyalty and betrayal
Sex and love
Deception and reality
Body image and beauty
“a 24-year-old storyteller,
starving artist, moon-worshiper
and ghost enthusiast.”
Counts Neil Gaiman, Jeffrey
Eugenides and the Brothers
Grimm among her biggest literary
Writes “deconstructed pulp-fables” that almost always
revolve around women, the wilderness and witchcraft.
A deliciously dark bubblegum-gothic fairytale
combining contemporary YA/crossover fiction with
a “pulp-fable about grunge girls, Victorian ghosts, and
slightly sinister talking rabbits” – Allyse Near
Takes place in Avalon, an indeterminate geographical
location which fuses dreamlike elements of
mythology/fantasy with features of contemporary
An intricate narrative structure incorporating stories
within stories and flashbacks.
A range of structural devices are used to create a sense
of unreality and fragmentation and destabilise the
reader eg. flashbacks, dreams, shifts in point of view
and time frame and script-writing elements.
Elements of post-modernism.
Visual techniques including intricate illustrations are
also used to create the illusion of the novel as a crafted
The fairytale sections use a lyrical, ornate, archaic
prose style while the contemporary sections are more
gritty and psychedelic, with terser, punchier language.
Also incorporates a range of traditional fairytale motifs
eg. refrains, magical creatures, princes and princesses,
evil mothers, doubles etc.
Symbolically rich with a dreamlike complexity
Strongly intertextual with allusions that deepen the
reading experience: Poe, Wilde, Brothers Grimm,
Arthurian legends, Greek mythology, Sylvia Plath,
Alice in Wonderland.
The Bloody Chamber, Angela Carter,
The Djinn in the Nightingale’s Eye, A.S.Byatt
Lips Touch Three Times, Lani Taylor
Sophie Masson eg. Moonlight and Ashes
Zoe Marriott eg. The Swan Kingdom
Kate Forsythe eg. The Wild Girl
Margo Lanagan eg. Tender Morsels, Sea Hearts
Cassandra Golds eg. Pureheart,
The Three Loves of Persimmon
Holly Black eg. Tithe
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