Most of us have seen the huge success of The Hunger Games, first the books and then the film. We have read reviews, heard talk of the volumes of sales and realised what a huge success it has been in financial terms. That is not what it is getting my cheers for though. Let me explain.
Yesterday, I went to get my hair cut. The young man who cuts my hair is twenty one and is a wonderful, young man. He told me about two months ago that he doesn’t read books. I have to add that the young man in question is a young man with vision. He works part time in a salon whilst he is studying for a degree in business studies. So the reason he doesn’t read is not because he’s lazy or not bright. He doesn’t read books because after a few pages, his mind wanders and he puts the book down for another time. In essence, it takes him a few months to get through a book and he’s simply got fed up and decided that reading for pleasure is not for him. Basically, he just hadn’t found the type of books which transport him into book world.
We were discussing how Doctor Who has a cult following and the young man told me that he had also followed a cult, or sort of. My heart sank; I wondered what was coming next. He then went on to tell me that he had been to see the film The Hunger Games and was totally besotted with it. So much so, that he had instantly gone out and bought Catching Fire (book two) and Mockingjay (book three) He had then read Catching Fire in one sitting. He said that he was not sure whether it was for kids or not but he was totally into it. I explained the YA category to him. I then swooped in and told him to get on the internet and type in this category to get other YA writers. I also explained how he could order books from all over the county and have them delivered to his library. He could actually try them out to find out which other YA writers he might like.
So The Hunger Games has reached rural England and persuaded a twenty one year old non-reader to become a reader. This is what it is all about. Therefore, all YA writers – this is a call to arms – GET WRITING – no excuses about lack of confidence or anything else – this is a question of duty. When you don’t feel like writing, in fact, you would rather clean your lavatory than write, think of the boy in rural England and all the others in the world like him – I think you get the message.