Hey All of you YA Lovers Around the Globe ~
As you may have picked up on, YA or Young Adult Books & it’s readers & writers & communities—are spinning webs around the world connecting us in new ways. 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. Read the original Global YA post here.
Today’s YA Author, Ellen McGinty, is American but lives in Japan with her husband who grew up in Japan! She has incredible insight on diversity within culture. Ellen is represented by Marissa Corvisero and Kaitlyn Johnson at Corvisiero Literary and is currently in process with her novel which, not surprisingly, includes a diverse cast– mainly Japanese–and is set in the Japanese Alps. How cool is that?
So, Ellen, What does Global YA mean to you?
I’m a Texas girl – who rode an alligator in her front yard. I now live in Japan and ride a mamachari (an old bike for moms) instead. Global YA took me literally from the swamp to across the ocean. But books, like life, offer more than a cross-culture experience. To me, the greatest thing about Global YA is its ability to cultivate understanding. To explore diversity within culture and the universal truths all people share.
Someone once said, “Your writing is not Japanese enough.”
Had this been said to me, I’d offer quite a few “gomen nasai’s” and do my absolute best to remedy the problem. Most of my writing is set in Japan with a largely Japanese cast. But the person who said that was speaking to a Japanese writer.
I think too often culture is presumed to fall into a certain range (ahem stereotype) even within the publishing world. That’s why sometimes #ownvoices authors are told their writing isn’t “own” enough. But the truth is, it is enough! Our world has become a diverse place. And Global YA celebrates that diversity, especially when it exists within culture. It’s easy to see overarching trends in culture – Japan has sushi, anime, vending machines, and even the cashiers at McDonald’s bow when you walk in the store. But that is by no means, Japan.
There is an Indian restaurant on my street, I know Japanese bear hunters, belly dancers, and a handful of other occupations you won’t see in a travel brochure. Many of my friends are Japanese Christians, other’s expats who have lived in Japan for decades. Not to mention differences of personality, socioeconomic status, and everyday life struggles. We are all people with unique experiences and that’s what Global YA represents.
That’s the beauty of diversity and why I love writing Global YA. It’s a contrast of collective culture and individuality that highlights the divine spark in all of us. That every person is valuable.
I love the fact that I can read scores of novels set in other countries, but each author has a different experience and understanding of that culture. For example, books set in Japan might include feminism, Christianity, homosexuality, explore what it’s like to be half-Japanese, Japanese-American, or an expat living in Japan. All different aspects of the same culture written by different people who either are Japanese or have experienced Japan and been changed by it. I know I’ve changed, both by the Japan I love and the global writing community. It celebrates the fact that everyone has a story to tell – and a unique voice to tell it.
Connect with Ellen on twitter and check out her beautiful Novel Aesthetics for her novel set in the Japanese Alps.
YOU NEXT: What does Global YA mean to you?
Where and what are you reading or writing?
FIND MORE GLOBAL YA POSTS HERE: