Stories shape us. They tell us how to survive; they teach us of right and wrong. Through stories, we learn who we are and where we fit. Who we could be. Stories, in short, have the power to shape—to change—the world. This is of particular important for young minds still growing, exploring, and testing out their options. Perhaps in response to this, young adult literature is no one thing—it's brave, and vast and full of possibilities. There are stories for everyone... almost.
Drawing upon personal experience as a transgender, queer, disabled writer working with diverse groups of teenagers, Fox will address the power of story, and the importance of minority representation—as mirrors, windows, and doors. They’ll discuss the impact of finding representation (or not) on self-image, confidence, empathy, and reader engagement. They also explore the link between stories and the ways we talk about minority groups, and how representation can provide new language with which to define ourselves.
Fox Benwell is a queer, transgender, and disabled YA author and creative writing tutor. They hold degrees in International Education and Writing for Young People, and believe both can change the world. Their debut novel, THE LAST LEAVES FALLING, is published by Random House (UK)/Simon and Schuster (US), was nominated for the Carnegie medal and made the USBBY 2016 Outstanding International Book list. Their second novel, KALEIDOSCOPE SONG, will be published by Simon and Schuster.