Lili Wilkinson’s newest book, Green Valentine (Published 1 August 2015, Allen and Unwin, Australia), begins with the introduction of a character who is overtly political. She dresses herself in a lobster costume and hands out fliers in a shopping center to protest the fate of the “lobster”. Whilst the book plays on the trope of the unpopular activist, it also shows that young people are often far more politically aware than they are given credit for and are capable of being politicized and socially responsible. Green Valentine does not speak down to its audience, the language used, and interaction between the characters shows that the language of activism and social awareness of young adults is often very well developed. Wilkinson has a history of tackling issues, with her book Pink discussing young adult sexuality and receiving a Stone Wall Honor in 2012. Pink opens with a main character in a same sex relationship, the character goes through a process of self discovery in which she decides that her sexuality may not be as simple as gay or straight. In a lot of ways it shares some themes with the teen drama Faking It in that it tackles the idea of parental and societal expectations, that once you are gay you bare the full social and political weight of being an activist.
Wilkinson has a significant online presence, running multiple blogs and a twitter account. She actively engages with her audience in a way that has become increasingly common for, in particular, Young Adult Fiction writers. Barbara Fister discusses online interaction with authors on her Blog, pointing out that for many authors now interaction with fans is a full time job, and that whilst it can enrich the reading experience it also has its drawbacks for authors. As Leavenworth (2014) points out it no longer seems sufficient to simply write a text and publish it, authors need to continue to engage with the fandom and build on the published work. Stockslager (2015) also looks at the ways in which author interaction has changed, certainly Dickens had more of an interaction with his public than some other authors of his time, given the episodic nature of much of his writing (produced chapter by chapter and published in a newspaper). Such interaction allowed and still allows fans to interact with authors over grief, death and other issues arising from texts. For Wilkinson her online presence has allowed her to connect with Young Adults for whom her books have resonated, whether that be queer youth in rural Australia or environmental activists in suburban Melbourne.
Fister, B., Barbara Fisters Place: https://barbarafister.wordpress.com/2015/08/20/authors-interacting-with-readers-online/
Leavenworth, M., L., Canon authors and fannish interaction , The Journal of Fandom Studies, 10/2014, Volume 2, Issue 2
Stockslager, T., R., The author who lived: Charles Dickens, J. K. Rowling, their fans, and their characters, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, 2015
Wilkinson, L., Green Valentine, 2015, Allen and Unwin
Wilkinson, L., Pink, 2012, Allen and Unwin
Wilkinson, L., Webpage: http://liliwilkinson.com.au/
Wilkinson, L., on Twitter: https://twitter.com/twitofalili?ref_src=twsrc^google|twcamp^serp|twgr^author
Wilkinson, L., Blog: https://acunningplot.wordpress.com/