Young Adult Fantasy: Policing Genre Boundaires

Presented by A/Prof Kim Wilkins

Date: Friday 21 September, 2018
Time: 3:00pm-4:00pm
Location: Digital Learning Space (Room 224, Level 2), Joyce Ackroyd Building (#37) 


Young adult fantasy fiction (YAF) is big international business: consistently growing in value and volume, and outselling adult fantasy fourfold. These books also serve as source texts for remediations across diverse forms, including film, television, videogames, merchandise, e-commerce, fan fiction, and colouring books. The varied cultural experiences that gather around these books fulfill Henry Jenkins’ 2008 definition of convergence as “the flow of content across multiple media platforms, the cooperation between multiple media industries, and the migratory behaviour of media audiences…in search of the kinds of entertainment experiences they want”. Those entertainment experiences may be participatory, produced by enthusiastic and highly networked fandoms.

This paper takes as its central focus the social aspects of Young Adult Fantasy, investigating not only the way that genres form and set expectations of social groupings, especially fandoms, but also the way that those social groupings then set expectations and police the genre they love. I will ask how far genre tropes can be reproduced before they exhaust an audience’s patience with the same thing, and what some of the indicators of that exhaustion might look like. I will also show that audiences are not all of one mind on this mix of what is replayed in genre and what is left in-play—far from it—and how these divisions are productive in themselves of the discourses that shape genres and fandoms.



Kim Wilkins is an Associate Professor in Writing, Publishing, and 21st-Century Book Culture. She leads the ARC-funded "Genre Worlds" project and is the author of thirty full-length works of fiction.  

A/Prof Kim Wilkins


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School of Communication and Arts Research Seminar Series

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Digital Learning Space (Room 224, Level 2), Joyce Ackroyd Building (#37)