Teens only at Stratford World Book Day event

Author Holly Bourne will be one of the authors speaking at Teen Fest at Stratford Picture House on M

Author Holly Bourne will be one of the authors speaking at Teen Fest at Stratford Picture House on March 2 - Credit: Archant

Adolescence isn’t always associated with a love of literature.

But teenagers can swap the confines of a library for a cinema experience if they brave World Book Day’s first live TeenFest next Wednesday.

“TeenFest is new to me, I’m really excited,” said author Holly Bourne, one of four young adult authors who will be answering questions from fans and signing books at the Stratford Picturehouse event.

Holly is the author of bestselling novels Soulmates, The Manifesto and Am I Normal Yet?

“I think it’s good for teenagers to know that reading books can be fun rather than a really boring thing that you do at school,” she said.

“I try to write books in a way that gets teenagers reading. They get excited about Harry Potter, so it’s such a shame they don’t get that dewy-eyed for other books.”

The former local news reporter also worked for many years for TheSite.org, where her experience of talking to teenagers about everything from sex to university life gave her a fresh insight into the agonies of adolescence.

“Lots of things are going on – first love, first kiss, losing your virginity,” she said.

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“It’s a very fraught time, you’ve got school going on, peer pressure.

“I’m really drawn to writing about that time in your life because there’s so much to speak about – you’re trying to make sense of your life.”

Young adult author Juno Dawson will also sit on the panel, alongside novelist Sara Barnard, whose debut Beautiful Broken Things discusses the inseparable friendship of two best pals.

Vivian Archer, manager of co-ordinators Newham Bookshop, said the event brings popular authors live to young people.

“Especially in east London, you don’t get that many people who are well-known young adult authors,” she said.

“This gives teenagers a chance to meet them and get their books signed.”

Colleague and children’s book buyer John Newman added: “It’s quite a big deal and it’s on your doorstep.

“It’s about promoting reading. It’s the only World Book Day teen event being run in the country, and they are coming to us.

“It’s something to be really proud of, something to come out and support.”

TeenFest will take place at Stratford Picturehouse on Wednesday, March 2, 6-8pm. To order your £3 ticket, register at wbdteenfest.com

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