Trans author, Juno Dawson will be participating in a Young Adult fiction writing event on Saturday May 21
Juno – formerly known as James – will be joining fellow Young Adult fiction writers Anna Seidl and Deirdre Sullivan on Saturday 21 May for an event as part of the International Literature Festival Dublin which is running from May 21-29 2016.
The event will be chaired by Claire Hennessy and “brings together three authors whose YA fiction is not afraid to explore dark and dangerous material,” with Juno’s novels being described as “dark teen thrillers”.
We asked Juno some questions in the run up to her appearance in Dublin.
Hi Juno, what do you think young readers are interested in stories that challenge gender norms?
I think young people are interested in reading stories that challenge norms full-stop. Adolescence is a time of self-exploration, when your identity shifts from child to adult – you’re forming independent stances and opinions away from your friends or family. One of those ‘big questions’ is about gender. I think we all challenge gender daily. We all have to work out our relationship with society’s expectations.
What do you think teenagers need most nowadays in terms of literature reflecting their lives?
Books are doing way better than films or TV shows at reflecting the reality of diversity in society, so just lots of books! I do think now is the time for a discussion about sex and relationships. I see too many young people in dodgy, controlling, coercive relationships and PSHE in schools isn’t adequately covering this.
On your website, you describe yourself as ‘formerly known as James’, but a lot of trans* people are not comfortable with any use of their former names. What makes you comfortable with it?
There is no one way to be trans. I don’t have a problem with the fact I spent thirty years called James. It’s just a name. I am fundamentally that person still and I’m proud of everything I achieved with that name. To be honest, had my name been more gender neutral, I’d have kept it.
What is the best thing about life since your transition to living as a woman?
Just a sense that I’m a better fit within my own skin. I feel a sense of alignment.
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What was the first thing you remember writing and being proud of?
I had early aspirations to be an actor and I got an A+ on a dramatic monologue I wrote in role as an alien abductee under regression hypnosis. It was peak X-Files era.
What is your greatest ambition?
I’ve achieved so much. Now that Spot The Difference has been a bestseller, I think the last one to tick off – at least professionally speaking – is to see a book adapted for film or television.
What is your favourite horror movie ever, and why?
A Nightmare on Elm Street. Oh it’s just such a simple idea, so well executed. A killer who kills you in your dreams? I so wish I’d thought of that.
If the world was ending tomorrow, what would you do today?
After I was done having sex with Alexander Skarsgard, I’d gather all my friends together for a glass of Pimms and a barbeque somewhere sunny and we’d play Cards Against Humanity or something.
The meaning of life according to Juno…
Be the most ‘you’ you there is.
The event at which Juno Dawson will be participating is scheduled for Saturday 21 May at 3:30pm in City Wall Space, Wood Quay Venue only costs €5 and is suitable for people aged 16 and up.
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