It wasn’t intentional – not my plan at all, but after reading about the lack of diversity in YA literature I realised that my novel had “diverse” characters. Malorie Blackman quite rightly highlighted the dismal representation of a whole range of characters in #YA literature recently and I totally agree with her. But I didn’t intentionally set out to write a diverse novel. My characters, an English boy and a Muslim Iraqi girl, came about because of the story. The plot drove the characters into being, not the other way round. So the characters deal with issues that are relevant to them as people, not because of their background necessarily. Having said that, the novel addresses issues such as observing Ramadan, family heritage, history of a people, and others. As a white British female writer I didn’t think Can I get away with writing as a boy or as a Muslim girl?, I just felt I got to know my characters well enough to write them. It wasn’t some calculated mission to include diversity for diversity’s sake, just a happy coincidence. I hope that readers of my book enjoy the story for its own sake rather than thinking I’ve been busy ticking diversity boxes.
If you want to know more about my novel, you can click here