Book Festival preview: James Dawson
Young Adult novelist in Edinburgh for three book festival events
This article is from 2015.
James Dawson, former social, personal and health education teacher turned author, was drawn to YA for its potential to tell creative stories, tackle serious themes and advocate for diversity. '[You can cross] the boundaries between contemporary, horror and thriller without worrying about where you'll go in the bookshop!' he says. 'There aren't any rules about what you can and can't write.'
Since releasing his first book in 2012, Dawson has not stopped writing. A mixture of horror, nightmarish fables and realism, his fiction includes a story of a haunted tattoo (Under My Skin), an updated 'Bloody Mary' myth (Say Her Name) and a holiday thriller (Cruel Summer). His latest book All of the Above (out on 3 Sep) leaves genre fiction behind, but still carries the fun and easy language Dawson brings to all his books.
Being a Boy and This Book Is Gay, his non-fiction, provide boys and LGBT teens with valuable resources on navigating teenage life. 'I knew from my time as an SPHE teacher,' Dawson says, 'that sex ed wasn't good enough in schools. It focuses too much on the birds and bees and not enough on the emotional literacy surrounding sex and relationships.'
With seven titles under his belt in three years, it's no wonder Dawson was crowned 2014's Queen of Teen. Long may he reign.
Best of the Brits: Celebrating our Young Adult Fiction, 27 Aug, 7pm, £7 (£5); Nightmare Fairy Tales, 28 Aug, 5.45pm, £4.50; Boys will be Girls and Girls will be Boys, 29 Aug, 6.45pm, £4.50. All events at Charlotte Square Gardens, 0845 373 5888.