Wednesday, 29 June 2016

"The Talkers" shortlisted for major international writing award

It's not often that I throw off my grumpsome exterior to bring a grain of light to this blog, but here you are - enjoy it!

My young adult novel, "The Talkers" has been shortlisted for the Half the World Global Literati Award!

The prize has some really impressive shortlistees, and the prestige of the judges is a bit terrifying. Oh, and did I mention that the main prize is $50,000? With recent British economics, that could be my retirement fund!

"The Talkers" follows Chris, a teenage girl seeking her parents' killers. It's set in a matriarchal world ruled by Talkers: powerful individuals who can psychically control animals. Chris faces off against deadly enemies, making friends and finally reaching the country's capital, where she uncovers a dark plot to strip everyone of their freedom.  

The Half the World award is in its first year and aims to celebrate written art which "gives voice to the inner lives of women". My YA novel, set in a matriarchal society, explores the gender inequalities of its fictitious world as a way of reflecting on the issues inherent in our own. I wrote this novel to challenge stereotypes and acknowledge the importance of language in defining, repressing, and hopefully readdressing and breaking down these barriers. After all, we still live in (apparently cultured and civilised) societies in which babygrows say "Superman" for boys and "Do my thighs look big in this?" for baby girls. Language and social attitudes which breed and maintain these inequalities need to change, and books (especially those for young people) are an important way of doing that.

Anyway, this isn't a lecture, but those are my thoughts on why this novel is important for young people, and why it was potentially shortlisted. I'm also looking for an agent to represent my writing career, which is why this competition is triply important to me. More details about my fiction can be found on my prose page.

If you have the time and inclination, I'd very much appreciate you voting for my novel. Aside from the $50,000 grand prize, there are smaller prizes for different categories, which include a $1000 prize for the most public votes.

Right, back to the shadows...! 

Russell Jones