There is no other award in Australia that reflects what teenagers want to read. The Inkys are international awards for teenage literature, voted for online by the readers of insideadog.com.au. There are three awards: the Golden Inky for an Australian book, the Silver Inky for an international book, and the Creative Reading Prize, won by a young person for a creative response to a book they love, in any format they choose.It's kind of absolutely fantastic.
Here's the recently-announced shortlist (I am not going to mention my favourite but oh my gosh, I love all these books!):
GOLD INKY - Australian
Liar by Justine Larbalestier
Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey
Raw Blue by Kirsty Eager
Swerve by Philip Gwynne
Stolen by Lucy Christopher
SILVER INKY - International
Going Bovine by Libba Bray
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by David Levithan & John Green
The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
You can vote here! (I made the font extra-large in order to entice you to vote! So do it!)
Now, for your reading pleasure, an interview with three of the awesome teenage Inkys judges, Broede, Grace & Hamish:
Steph: Tell me a bit about yourself (perhaps your favourite books!), and how you came to be an Inkys judge. Are you an aspiring writer yourself?
Grace Bell: I enjoy reading urban fantasy and sci-fi mostly, but my favourite-ever novel (as opposed to picture book) I think is Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce, or else the Maximum Ride series by James Patterson. I do write occasionally, but I don’t know if it will ever go beyond writing for just myself or for fan fiction. I became a judge when I answered the call for judges on the Insideadog website and was chosen for the role.
Broede Carmody: Hi there! I'm seventeen, on the verge of finishing year 12, and often think of myself as a little too crazy to be considered normal and a little too normal to be considered crazy. I came to be an Inkys judge by hastily replying to an email from Lili Wilkinson, which was forwarded to me by my trusty school librarian (she thankfully keeps me in the loop of all things literary.) I have too many favourite books to count, and a crown-tailed red and green Siamese fighting fish without a name (suggestions, anyone?) I am an aspiring writer, but when I said this to Melina Marchetta at the Albury Writers' Festival she told me that, if I was in the process of writing, then that I am, unconditionally, a writer. I have had articles published in my local newspaper, and after exams are finished I'm going to pour my being into working on the YA novel ideas that have been swimming around in my head all year (cross fingers they turn out good!)
Hamish Knowles: My name is Hamish Knowles. I am 15 years old. My favourite hobby is the bass guitar. It is pretty much my life. I love reading books, and my most favourite book is 'The Lost Boys Appreciation Society' by Allan Gibbons. I love writing stories, in fact english is my best subject in school.
Steph: Have you read differently as a judge than you read normally, for enjoyment? Have you enjoyed the judging process? (The discussions, etc.)
Grace: Some of the books, like Shark Girl, Swerve and Anonymity Jones are not books I probably ever would have chosen to read usually, but I did enjoy the experience of reading outside my comfort zone not for school purposes. It’s very interesting to be collaborating with a group, for discussions and such, and discovering the differences and similarities between our reading choices, that’s for sure!
Broede: Definitely! Normally I read quite quickly out of habit, but for the Inkys I decided to read much slower in order to get the most out of each book. Also, I took into account the likes and dislikes of a larger audience, kind of distancing my own prejudices (hopefully) from the judging process. Even sharing the books around to my friends once I read them has been awesome, to see what they had to say and whether it was any different to what I had thought about a particular book. Talking to the authors has also been a fun part of the judging process (my interviews with a few of them should make an appearance on my blog soon.)
Hamish: Reading all these books has been a challenge, but i can't necessarily say that i have read them any differently than i would read something for enjoyment. I have loved being part of the judging process and i hope to do something like it again. It has been a really great experience.
Steph: I know you're not allowed to talk about favourites... but I'm just wondering, do you have a clear favourite to win at this point? (Don't tell me what it is!)
Grace: I have one or two in my favour, especially by authors I’ve been reading for a while now, but of course I love them all!
Broede: I tried not to pick favourites whilst judging, I really did, but I guess it's one of those pitfalls of human existence that forced me to like some books over others. Luckily, however, it wasn't just my opinions that counted! Needless to say, all of the longlisted books for both the Gold and Silver Inky were great - and even the shortlist presents a selection that makes it hard to define a clear winner. I think it will be a close call, so another words - get voting!
Hamish: There are two books on the shortlist that i wouldn't mind winning, but all the shortlist books are great, so i don't mind which book wins.
Creative Reading Prize
Broede's blog, Listening To The Ants Scream