#LoveOzYA Spotlight: The Inky Awards
#LoveOzYA Spotlight is a monthly series of blog posts highlighting bookish initiatives that promote Australian youth literature.
In August, the #LoveOzYA team spoke to Alex, a teen judge for the 2017 Inky Awards.
Q: The Inky Awards is an annual award for youth literature chosen by Australian teens, and a favourite of the #LoveOzYA community. Congratulations on making the judging panel this year! Tell us a bit about yourself and why you applied.
A: Thank you! My name’s Alex, I’m 14 and an avid book reader (obviously). My hobbies include watching Netflix and hanging out with friends. I applied to be an Inky Judge because I thought it was an awesome opportunity to put myself out of my comfort zone.
[See Alex's introductory video on the Centre for Youth Literature's Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8V3nqzcEFc ]
Q: Talk us through what you’ve had to do so far as an Inky Award judge. (We imagine it involves quite a lot of reading #LoveOzYA!) What has been the best thing about the judging process so far? What has been the hardest thing?
A: So far I’ve had to read the 20 long-listed books in 2 months, and had to have a couple Skype calls discussing them with the other Inky Judges. I’ve also had to make a couple of videos about myself. The best thing about the process so far was the Skype discussion with the other Inky Judges, it was really fun talking to people who loved reading just as much as I do! The hardest part has definitely been reading all the allocated books in time.
Q: The Inky Awards recognise quality YA literature in the form of two awards: the Gold Inky for #LoveOzYA books and the Silver Inky for international books. Tell us, what are the books short-listed for the Gold Inky?
A: The five books short-listed for the Gold Inky are:
- Frankie by Shivaun Plozza
- My Sister Rosa by Justine Larbalestier
- The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon
- One Would Think the Deep by Claire Zorn
- Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley
Q: The #LoveOzYA movement aims to draw the attention of Australian teens to Australian YA, and the Inky Awards give teens space within the YA community to have their say. Why do you think it is important for teen voices in particular to be amplified in discussions about YA literature?
A: I think that it is particularly important for teen voices to be heard in discussions about YA literature, as sometimes people tend to overlook teenagers’ opinions deeming them “invalid” as they are too young. One of the Inky Awards’ main focuses is giving voices to all teenagers.
Q: What are some of your favourite recently released #LoveOzYA books that didn’t make this year’s Inky Awards longlist/shortlist? And what are your go-to recommendations for someone completely unfamiliar with Australian YA?
A: I actually don’t have any recent Australian YA books that I really enjoyed that didn’t make the shortlist, all the books that I enjoyed were actually on the shortlist.
My go-to recommendations are as follows:
- Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
- StormDancer by Jay Kristoff
- The Sequin Star by Belinda Murell
- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
All these books are amazing and you should definitely go check them out!
Thanks so much for answering our questions, Alex!
Teen readers can vote on the Inky Awards shortlist until 17 September. Winners will be announced in early October. For more information, please visit the website: https://insideadog.com.au/blog/2017-inky-awards-shortlist-announcement
Alex says vote!