This is the WASTED BLOG. For my main author website, click this link.

Awards: WASTED won the Read it or Else category in the Coventry Award and was runner-up in the North East Book Award. It is longlisted for the Carnegie Medal and shortlisted for the Manchester, Grampian, Angus, and RED Awards.

Friday, 24 September 2010


I write for teenagers. I do that because I like them and respect them. I want to tell their stories, which are my stories too, because I was a teenager and I remember it.

That's why I am so so very angry about the people in America who are trying to ban the amazing SPEAK, by Laurie Halse Anderson, from schools. They say it's pornographic. It isn't. It's the story of a girl, screwed up, driven mad and silenced by the apalling memory of having been raped. Which she blames herself for. It's called Speak because she can't. She chews her lips, makes them bleed through her tension. And she is saved in the end by the wisdom of a teacher who helps her tell her story through art.

Yeah, right. Pornography.

I'm just appalled.

I'd like you to watch a video. I'll put it at the end of this post. Laurie Halse Anderson reads a poem that she wrote about the book and the reactions she has had to it, not the reactions from ignorant people who misunderstand it, but reactions from young people who have dealt with rape or other terrible things they can't talk about, things I didn't suffer but which I wish no one suffered.

Let the book speak. Let them speak.

Here it is. It's called LISTEN.


Cat Clarke said...

That poem gives me goosebumps every time.

Mary said...

If I choose not to read this book that means nothing. For someone to decide for me that I cannot read Speak is unacceptable. Hand over one freedom and eventually you lose them all.

Words A Day said...

I agree, young people recognise truths, their lives arent trauma free, this kind of censorship denies that truth, on the other hand, it brings attention to the book and hopefully, after the whoha dies down and sense prevails it will bring it more readers in the long run?