I had the opportunity to interview J.L. (Jessica) Powers about her latest young adult novel, This Thing Called the Future (Cinco Puntos, 2011) set in a South African Zulu community. We discussed issues of appropriate content for YA novels, the responsibility of the writer in representing cultures other than her own, and the importance of literature as a voice for controversial issues. Listen to the full interview here.
This Thing Called the Future, J.L. Powers second novel, was listed as one of the Best Teen Books of 2011 by Kirkus Magazine. It made the American Library Association’s Best Fiction for Young Adults 2012 list and was listed with “Outstanding Merit” by Bank Street as one of the Best Books for 2012 (fourteen and up category). It also won the Best Young Adult Book literary prize awarded annually by the Texas Institute of Letters and was recently awarded the 2012 Paterson Prize for Books for Young People. J.L. Powers is the editor of That Mad Game: Growing Up in a Warzone, An Anthology of Essays from Around the Globe, which will be released in June 2012. She teaches at Skyline College in San Bruno, California.