Yesterday, I went to St Thomas of Aquin's School in Edinburgh and did an event for some S2s (that's Year 8 / second year of high school if you're not Scottish) and was then interviewed by some of them for Teen Titles. I had a lovely time and heard loads of their lucky escape stories and "how did your parents meet" stories - the point of that being that if your parents hadn't met, you wouldn't exist...
Anyway, I also want to tell you about Teen Titles. It's a remarkable magazine, which began its life in Edinburgh and is still produced here, funded by the Edinburgh City Council, but you'll find it in schools all across the UK now. Its selling point is that every single review is written by a teenage reader and all the interviews are done by teenage readers. Since the whole magazine is reviews and interviews, this means that the entire content is provided by teenagers.
For YA authors, this is a) wonderful and b) absolutely terrifying. Because when teenagers don't like your books, they say so. And we cry.
Another fab thing about Teen Titles is the annual party, held during the Edinburgh Book Festival, when as many authors as possible will be available. A couple of huge rooms heave with milling authors and teenage readers hunting autographs and pouncing with amazing questions. And the food is the best, most plentiful and most appreciated party food of all the festival parties.
What is my point? My point is that people who say that teenagers don't read haven't read Teen Titles. People who says that teenagers can't hold a conversation haven't been to the Teen Titles party. It's a fabulous atmosphere and the conversations you can have about books and what they mean are just wonderful. I come away from it every year feeling better and reminded of the point of what I do.
I have to mention as well that a couple of years ago Teen Titles got schools to come up with their 40 Best Books Ever and I was thrilled to find Fleshmarket named there - so, yes, I have a bit of a soft spot for them!
So, hats off to Teen Titles and the dedicated adults behind it and if you're interested in getting it for your school or library or for yourself, contact the address you'll find on this website.
And thanks to St Thom's for interviewing me for it - I just hope I said something sensible. I do seem to remember that several times I said, "Hmmm, I think you shouldn't put that bit in..."