Over the years, I have had a bit of a like/love/really love/miss/get-slightly-annoyed-with/resent/sort-of love-from-a-distance-kind of relationship with this city. Let me explain...When I was eighteen (lets just say this was a while back) I decided to go to Australia on a gap year. About a week after arriving in the Land Down Under I, along with some other fellow fresh-faced backpacking types, decided Sydney wasn't quite doing it for us and we bought bus tickets up the coast. The plan was to find work on the Gold Coast or Brisbane and work out what we were going to to from there.
Well, in short, this decision changed my life. A few days after hoping off the bus in Brissy, I applied for a boring sales job, met a boy and, well, several years and two children later, he's still sitting next to me on the sofa watching a film on his phone whilst I veg out in front of Britain's Got Talent (the Australian in him just doesn't get it) (and before you say it, Australia's Got Talent just isn't the same - no Cowell, no Walliams, ok, get back to matter in hand Anna...). A lot of key decisions I have made in my life, I have made in this city. The most recent one was deciding I wanted to be a writer. So when I think of writing YA, I think of Brisbane.
|A house, not an old person. Romantic...Sort of
So, literary Brisbane. Well, in the whole YA genre, the man man here is Nick Earls. Resident Brisbanite and Aussie YA champion. I, personally, am not a massive fan of his writing - he has a very unique style, that I get you either love, or not-love-very much-at-all. Anyway, as an introduction, I would go with 48 Shades of Brown. I remember catching the film adaptation late one night, and getting all excited spotting places we drove past on the way to do the shopping etc. As much as I found fault with some of the book, I love the way he captures this place and the feeling of being young and in love here. Sorry, sorry, feel free to vom. Cheeszoid mushy stuff is over now.
Another Brisbane author worth checking out is Rebecca Sparrow. It is a real regret that I never got a chance to read more of her stuff while I was there, (hopefully I will in the future when funds permit me to ship vast amounts of Aussie books to London) but The Girl Most Likely is a great, very funny depiction of a woman having a mid-20s crisis and not knowing what the blooming heck to do about it. With sexy neighbour thrown in for good measure. What's not to love?
Probably my favourite Brisbane-based author is Belinda Jeffrey. Ok, so none of books so far have actually been set in Brisbane, but I urge you to check out Brown Skin Blue. One of the most affecting YA books I've ever read. That's all you need to know.
Two other things I have to mention that are literary and Brisbane related -
1) Annerley Community Bookshop on the south side. I used to work here one day a week last year and it is one of my absolute favourite places in the whole of the city. If I could live there, then I would, well, live there and just smell the books all day (what? come on, it can't be just me..)
2) One Book Many Brisbanes. This is an annual short story competition run by Brisbane City Council, with the winners being published in an anthology. You can't find a better literary-shaped depiction of this unique place anywhere else. Oh, and one Belinda Jeffrey was a winner back in the day. You can't get better pedigree than that. So if you can find a copy of one of them then, read it, obvs.
So, that concludes my mini-literary tour of Brisbane. Hope you've enjoyed it. I've only really scratched the surface here. Wonder where we'll be going next? *drums fingers on chin and looks of into distance with misty-eyes expression*