Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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On tour: Meet the author Sara Farizan

Sara Farizan is the author of the YA novels Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel and If You Could Be Mine (both Algonquin Books). She is attending the Reading Matters Conference in Melbourne in May.

What would you put on a shelf-talker for your book?
Last year I actually did work at a bookstore and wrote a shelf-talker for my second book, Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel (Algonquin Books). It said, ‘Please buy this book so I don’t have to ride a kids’ scooter anymore. Thanks!’ But in all seriousness I would write, ‘If you like books about identity that contain emotional drama, comedy, romance and well-rounded secondary characters, this book is for you.’

What are you reading right now?
I’m re-reading my mentor Chris Lynch’s Hit Count (Algonquin Books), which comes out later this spring in the States. It’s about a young American football player and the toll his body/family takes during his time playing football in high school.

What are you planning to read next?
2 A.M. at the Cat’s Pajamas by Marie-Helene Bertino (Picador). It’s supposed to be set in a jazz club and it’s been on my nightstand for a bit.

Which book do you always recommend?
I loved Five Came Back by Mark Harris (Canongate), Strivers Row by Kevin Baker (HarperCollins), anything by Marjane Satrapi, Last Call by Daniel Okrent (Scribner UK), A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki (Text), Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (Nancy Paulsen Books), The Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving (Black Swan) and pretty much anything by Richard Russo or Walter Mosley.

What was the defining book of your childhood?
Only one? There are quite a few! Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), mystery books by John Bellairs, Arthur’s Halloween by Marc Brown (Little, Brown), The Bionic Bunny Show by Marc Brown (Little, Brown), In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson by Bette Bao Lord (HarperCollins US), Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D Taylor (Puffin), lots and lots of comic books, Moon Man by Tomi Ungerer (Phaidon Press), Strega Nona by Tomie Depaola (Scholastic), Homer Price by Robert McCloskey (Penguin US) and A Chair for My Mother by Vera B Williams (HarperCollins). I could go on though if you’d like?

If you were a literary character you’d be …
I’m still trying to figure out how to be my best version of me. But I always thought Ramona Quimby [from Beverly Cleary’s ‘Henry Huggins’ and ‘Ramona’ books] and I would get along really well. And I’d love to hang out with Auntie Mame.

What’s your favourite book adaptation (film, television or theatre)?
The Bad Seed by William March (the 1956 film version).

What’s your favourite books website or blog?
I really love Diversity in YA. They always have a lot of interesting things to say and they’ve been very supportive of me. They’re really inclusive.

Hardback, paperback or digital?
Hardback or paperback work fine for me. No digital though. We look at enough screens throughout the day.

Facebook or Twitter?
I’ve kind of gotten the hang of Twitter, but it sort of makes me anxious. There’s always so much information and I’m running out of clever things to say. I use Facebook to see which of my friends and acquaintances are getting married and having babies while I’m just only now figuring out how much milk to add to my cereal.

In 50 years’ time books will be …
Books will stand the test of time no matter how many obstacles they have to overcome. 



Category: Features