It’s no secret that I’m a hopeless nomad and culture nerd. I’ve studied 8 languages, lived in seven countries spread across Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, and traveled to many more. I love every place I go. I love connecting with the people and I’m torn when I have to leave. On certain days, I threaten to throw down everything just to hop on a plane and go see that friend in whatever country. Some days, I’ve done just that. But as a writer, I’ve been given a global gift–I get to interact with the world in a new way.
As you may have picked up on, YA or Young Adult Books & it’s readers & writers & writing communities—are spinning webs around the world connecting us in new ways. And I can’t get enough of this or stop being grateful for it.
As a way to appreciate that, I’ve asked some International and American authors to share what that means to them. This week and next will be filled with their responses! We would love to hear YOUR responses too! Either comment below or send me your response on my contact page.
But first, you must hear from me, my lovely captive audience…*muahahahaha!*
IN publishing, things like We Need Diverse Books & Diversity in YA have brought light speed to representing diversity in the publishing world. English speakers from around the world started writing more books for a more global community & are uniting over books and ideas. Not only do OUR books reflect a new global world (I know mine do!) but we do too. Last year I won the writing contest PitchWars and both mentees and mentors represented many nations!
TODAY our world looks different: As a child, I grew up in America in a house where I was more than one thing—I was Finnish & American. And in that house, we hosted foreign guests, both short & long term, who became like family to me. Then, at a young age I traveled and lived abroad. I’ve been out of America for more than half of my life–currently in Asia–and often lived where I was the only American around. During that time, my identity changed forever. I absorbed different cultures and languages. I learned new ways to live, to think, to love, to write. I wasn’t exactly just American anymore, or Finnish, I was so much more. Much like how our world feels today.
It’s pretty obvious that nations have never been more connected or more globally minded than we are today. Many of us can’t even claim one country let alone one culture, one music, or one cuisine. We are multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-foodie, multi-musical, multi-bookworm, and pretty much—this generation is multi-everything! Since University, I’ve worked with immigrants, refugees, travelers, international students and in foreign countries…Let me tell you—we, they, and us are so much more than one thing, sometimes we are more than two or three or four. Most of us don’t fit in a cultural box anymore.
Books, as silly as it sounds, are often the first ambassadors making friends in other countries. They travel farther and wider than people. And stay longer. Because of books, people in all kinds of countries can understand, know, laugh/cry with, stand up for, and relate to and connect to other people in other countries! So many themes are universal. It’s inspiring. Nearly everywhere I go I talk books or writing with someone.
The greater YA writing community is composed of dozens of authors from other countries. We and our characters reflect a millennium where our world has spilled over into one another in an inescapable way– and its only getting more global each day. We write for each other and the world. And you don’t have to have plane ticket to connect.
So “Global YA” isn’t really “a thing”, but it makes me excited to think that YA is global, that books and the emotions they express are global, and that We are global.
So. Your turn. What are your thoughts? What does Global YA mean to you?
Look forward to these women + more who have something to say about Global YA.