I’ve been living in London for about three months and I can honestly say that coming here has been one of the best decisions I’ve made yet. Don’t be fooled – moving to London has not been a big band-aid on the rough parts of my life. It hasn’t made me less anxious about writing stuff or more able to be an independent human being, but it has forced me to accept a lot of truths about myself and learn to live with them. Being so far away has made me more self-sufficient, at least. Better able to deal with the little tragedies that come with being a twenty-something and confused most of the time.
And much, much better at paperwork. Because when you move to a different country, you get really good at paperwork.
An unexpected perk of being here is that I’ve been able to connect with a lot of London-based writers. This might sound dumb, but I didn’t actually think about how many artistic people lived in London before I moved here (spoiler alert: a lot!!) and it’s been great meeting so many of them. Another thing about living in Europe is it’s so much easier to travel. I’ve been to… 4 countries? I think? since I’ve been here, and I had the opportunity to attend the Frankfurt Book Fair as well, which was eye-opening.
SO. Something else I wanted to talk about. I’m here doing my MA, focusing on writing some good ol’ critical theory on young adult literature. I am so happy to have the opportunity to join the growing number of scholars addressing issues and themes in YA lit, and I hope to see the literature on this grow exponentially in the next few years.
Something that has always bothered me is how many people are willing to brush genre fic and YA under the rug, saying there’s no scholarly merit there. I’d like to point out that just because something isn’t technically “literary” in no way means that it’s not literature. And with the growing number of people reading YA – most of whom aren’t young adults at all – doesn’t that seem like something we should be studying? Lit fic and the classics talk about some spectrum of the mind and thought, but the books that the vast majority of people are reading say something deeper about the human condition and basic attitudes of the population. It’s not even just about escapism anymore. There are so many groundbreaking YA narratives that talk about racial tension or grieving or body acceptance and these are things that are important, things that should be discussed, things that have merit both in the literary and real worlds.
I’m proud to be joining the conversation. And I hope that others are ready for a new generation of literary critics, because from what I’ve seen, we’re going to be great.