Last week I attended the launch of the new Inside a Dog website at the very schmick Fairfax Media House in the city. For those not familiar with it, it's a social networking site for teens to review and recommend books to each other. The idea behind this is teens are far more likely to pick up a book based on the recommendation of their peers than a teacher or parent. The exciting thing is that it's being used most heavily between 4 and 6pm weeknight, a time when students are getting home from school and logging on. The launch was done by the lovely Adele of Persnickety Snark, and lately of the Centre for Youth Literature. I was thrilled last year when she told me she was going to be their new Program Coordinator because a) she is perfect for the the role and b) she would be moving to Melbourne!
As part of the launch Bernard Beckett, author of Genesis, gave a speech. He's such a wonderful writer and I was thrilled to get the chance to hear him talk. He is a teacher himself and was addressing an audience of mostly teachers, and had some very interesting things to say about literacy. Not literacy in the sense of being able to read and write, but rather to truly understand and connect with a piece of literature, and how the school system has discouraged this. His position was that reading and writing is something students are constantly judged on which can make the task of analysis daunting. I thought it was interesting that this was the main theme of his talk as judgement and analysis are central themes of Genesis.
We were also there to launch Beckett's new book August. I'm looking forward to starting this one very much. It's not YA, but it has strong dystopian themes and I'm sure will be just as thought provoking as Genesis.