I am a reader, who likes YA.
This thought was inspired by the Diversity in YA event I attended last Saturday, during which the writers on the panel, all of whom are and write books about people of color or different sexual orientations, were asked if they felt like they had to represent their community in the publishing world. (I could be getting the wording of the question wrong, but that's the jist of it.) And one of the authors, I think it was Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich, talked about how she thinks about all her writer identities, like she is a writer who is black, as well as a writer who likes cheese.
A writer who likes cheese? Bemi's answer struck me as being one of the wisest things I have heard lately. For what are we but a conglomeration of a million different things that make up who we are, and who's to tell us that one of those things has to define us at the exclusion of all others? I am a writer who is Asian American and a writer who loves chocolate. Does me being Asian American mean I can't write about my love of chocolate?
I have a suspicion that most of my blog readers out there are also readers who like YA. This could be because YA itself is a genre of crossovers. Ever notice how readers of YA fiction are much more willing to venture into the other sections of a bookstore, whereas a lot of readers of adult fiction are much more reluctant to do so? This gives the publishing industry extraordinary migraines, and sometimes writers justifiably fear that their book being marketed as YA will limit its audience. But I think that, while a lot of us read YA as our primary genre, we are also not unwilling to try out an adult book, or even a children's book. And I love that about readers of our genre.
So play a game with me, if you will. A game of identities. Fill in the following sentence: "I am a reader/writer/etc who ____________, and a reader/writer/etc who ____________." The first blank is something about your identity that is "obvious" or "classifiable;" the second blank is something about your identity that is far less obvious and may even be surprising to others.
Here is mine:
I am a writer who is Asian American, and a writer who is interested in astrophysics.And by "interested" I really mean more like "obsessed." Bet most of you didn't see that one coming, huh? But yes, if I were to have a second shot at college, I would've probably stuck to an astrophysics degree this time around. Me = nerd FTW!
It's your turn now. Will you play?