From Transition to Threshold: Redefining "Young Adulthood"

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Abstract

Nodelman, in The Hidden Adult (2008), makes the case that from a philosophical perspective and for the purposes of critical analysis, 'young adult literature' can usefully be considered alongside, or even interchangeably with, 'children's literature'. Recent years, though, have seen a distinct shift in the conception of 'young adulthood' as it is reflected in the awarding of prizes and in the publication strategies being used in the 'marketing' of 'young adulthood'. The rise of the 'crossover novel' suggests that increasingly sophisticated books, implying increasingly sophisticated and emancipated readerships, are featuring in awards shortlists for 'young adult' literature, and are being actively marketed by publishers as 'young adult' novels. This paper will consider firstly the broad concept of 'young adulthood' as it is currently viewed by writers, publishers and awards committees, and will then consider, within the Australian context and through close analysis of several recent shortlists and awards, the degree and direction of change in commercial and critical perceptions of 'young adulthood'. Building upon the ideas of Nodelman, Wheatley, Hunt and Scutter, as well as sociologists Wyn and Woodman, this paper will explore the changing portrayal of 'young adulthood' in literature for that demographic
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-16
Number of pages12
JournalWrite4Children
Volume4
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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