“There’s more than one story to be told about transgender teenagers”:
: Transitions in the Twenty-First-Century Young Adult Book Market

  • Emily Corbett

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    This thesis asks how transgender young adult literature can function as a lens to observe the ways that publishing attitudes towards trans-ness, and laterally young adult literature, have shifted in the twenty-first century. As such, this thesis charts the changing shape of the young adult book market against the socio- cultural moment in which the books have been published. This interrogation of the transitions that have occurred in the US and UK transgender young adult book market between 2004 and 2020 – its conventions, authorship, genres, character diversity, and ideologies – reveals a shift from cisgender-dominated publishing to the recent increase in the presence of transgender people as creators and readers. Over five chapters, this thesis examines the introduction of transgender representation as a ‘problem’ by cisgender authors; the subsequent transformation of the market through Own Voices authorship, intersectional diversity, and a marketable desire for authentic stories; the expansion of transgender representation into speculative fiction genres; the emergent authority of transgender teenagers in parent-adolescent relationships that cut across genre; and the boundary-pushing inclusion of transgender young people’s own stories in transgender young adult memoirs. Informed by YA studies, trans studies, children’s literature studies, and book studies, this thesis contributes new perspectives on the intersecting subject positions of adolescence and trans-ness.
    Date of Award21 Dec 2021
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Roehampton
    SponsorsJacqueline Wilson Scholarship
    SupervisorAlison Waller (Director of Studies) & Andy Kesson (Co-Supervisor)


    • YA
    • children’s literature
    • Adolescence
    • book studies
    • transgender
    • YA studies
    • trans studies

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