Catherine Johnson recommends UK Diverse Writers #LadyCaraboo Blog Tour

CATJCatherine Johnson has written nearly twenty novels for young readers.

She also writes for TV including Holby City, and film, including Bullet Boy. She is a Londoner who lives by the sea. She has two grown up children and is scarily good at knitting. Her favourite swimming pool is the London Fields Lido.

Twitter @catwrote

Hello! Thanks so much for inviting me onto your blog it’s lovely to be here. I have made some virtual trifle and there are extra strawberries…

I have also made a list of some interesting writers. Of course there are many more diverse writers – actually I’m going to kick that term into the grass. Everyone’s diverse in one way or another, everyone’s different and everyone’s unique. We need to have as many different sorts of writers with as many sorts of experiences and backgrounds in order to have as wide a range of stories as possible, class, sexuality, race, disability, EVERYTHING.

Rant over!

The writers I’m flagging up are all British and all POC, that’s not because I don’t think there aren’t any brilliant overseas writers (I’m really looking forward to reading Jason Reynolds) – but because I really would be here all day and because I’m going to fly the flag for fellow Brits. And believe it or not we exist!

These days most readers of UKYA can name at least one, our wonderful ex-laureate and brilliant bestseller Malorie Blackman. And maybe some say oh, Benjamin Zephaniah – although surely he’s best known as a poet.

When I started writing twenty years ago there was a previous generation of UKYA and MG writers who blazed a trail, and if you find books by these writers it’s worth having a read. These include Geraldine Kaye, Millie Murray, Malaika Rose Stanley and Jacqueline Roy. Times were different, even only ten years ago, and most of the books published tended to be realism.

That’s been – I think – the major change. These days there are writers writing across the genres; wonderful fantasies from Amy Aylward, Sarwat Chadda and Taran Matharu, insightful family stories, from Sita Bramachari and Candy Gourlay, a range of thrillers from Sam Hepburn and Bali Rai, Narinder Dhami, Tanya Byrne and Savita Kalhan, histfic from me, contemporary realism from Alex Wheatle and N’aima B. Robert.

 

The important thing to remember is we are here and hopefully there are many, many, more of us in the wings polishing up their stories right now. It’s a question of finding us and that can sometimes be a problem. So we need readers to look a little harder, and maybe take a chance on reading something new….

Happy reading!

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Set in the early nineteenth century, this is incredible story of the ultimate historical hustle, based on the true story of Mary Willcox. After a harrowing street attack, Mary makes a life-changing decision: to become Princess Caraboo. Speaking a language of her own devising, she manages to convince the respected Worrall family that she is just what she claims to be. Language professors, journalists and artists are captivated by Caraboo’s beauty and the story that surrounds her. But as her lies get bigger, so too does the risk involved in her deception, and when she begins to fall in love with seventeen-year-old Fred Worrall, Mary realizes that she can’t keep up her con forever, and that some stories can be very dangerous indeed…

The Curious Tale of the Lady Caraboo
is out today!

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