I write books for children and young adults. Sometimes I write short stories for grown-ups.

Danielle Binks

If you’d like to commission me for an article, or reach me for reproduction/permission or comment – email me

Westerly Magazine

Westerly Magazine /

Westerly Magazine – 61.1

Westerly Magazine – 61.1

Danielle Binks – A Review of ‘The Intervention: An Anthology’

  • July 27, 2016
Kill Your Darlings

Kill Your Darlings / Online

#LoveOzYA

#LoveOzYA

We’re apparently experiencing a new renaissance in YA literature, heralded by the mega-star-power of books like Twilight, The Hunger Games, Harry Potter and The Fault in Our Stars. In fact, the popular HarperCollins Epic Reads blog earlier this year released a video chronicling ‘A Brief History of Young Adult Books’, and declared the early 2000s the Second Golden Age of YA (the first, they claimed, came in the 1970s, with the likes of Robert Cormier and Judy Blume).

  • July 8, 2015
Finding Books for Young Readers: The Readings Children’s Book Prize

Finding Books for Young Readers: The Readings Children’s Book Prize

Australian Children’s Laureate and bestselling children’s author Jackie French was named Senior Australian of the Year in January, and in her speech she had one important message: ‘If you want an intelligent child, give them books. If you want a more intelligent child, give them more books.’

  • June 10, 2015
Agent Carter and the future of the female superhero

Agent Carter and the future of the female superhero

The Agent Carter television series has been described ‘a Triumph for Women, Marvel and TV,’ and heralded as an important new chapter in comics culture. But why is this supposedly groundbreaking new show struggling to find an audience? And if Agent Carter fails, does it spell doom for the future of female-led superhero franchises?

  • February 13, 2015
Young Adult Literature: genre is not readership

Young Adult Literature: genre is not readership

YA is not a genre – it is a readership. I’d like to talk about the reason for the frequent confusion between the two.

It may seem like pedantic nitpicking to focus on this distinction, but so pervasive is the mistake, amongst even established literary channels (according to the New York Times, ‘the genre’s appeal has spread beyond teenage readers…’), that explaining the difference has become increasingly important, and indeed, necessary.

  • December 9, 2014
Disability or superpower? Deaf identity in YA

Disability or superpower? Deaf identity in YA

In September this year, American author and illustrator Cece Bell released a graphic memoir, El Deafo, about losing her hearing at the age of four. El Deafo details Bell’s middle-grade life and deaf experiences: she wears a clunky hearing aid, ‘The Phonic Ear’; struggles to learn to lip read; and is embarrassed by her need to use sign language (‘Some people put on a real show when they start signing – like mimes!’).

  • November 25, 2014
Books that take you there: YA literary tourism

Books that take you there: YA literary tourism

I love The Amazing Race franchise, and I adore Anne of Green Gables. So when The Amazing Race Canada made a pit stop at Prince Edward Island this season, I was thrilled, and my bucket list grew. From the cliffs of Cavendish, to rolling green pastures as far as the eye can see – I want to go there. But it also got me thinking about this strange phenomenon of literary tourism – the settings, characters and their creators that draw us like lodestones to otherwise obscure locations.

  • November 11, 2014
Nepotism, bullying and stalking: When online reviews go bad

Nepotism, bullying and stalking: When online reviews go bad

Iris Murdoch said, ‘A bad review is even less important than whether it is raining in Patagonia.’

American young adult author Kathleen Hale may want to take heed of Murdoch’s wise words, or those of Stacia Kane (‘Authors, reviews are not for you!’), or any one of the many authors out there who warn their peers not to read bad reviews, and especially never to respond to them. It invariably does not end well: just ask Anne Rice.

  • October 22, 2014
Race, growing up and Nona and Me

Race, growing up and Nona and Me

This month, Black Inc. published Clare Atkins’ debut novel Nona and Me. Atkins’ novel is the prestigious publishing house’s first foray into young adult literature, and with it they have set the bar high.

  • October 14, 2014
‘YA-bashing’: sexism meets elitism

‘YA-bashing’: sexism meets elitism

Another month, another critic who doesn’t read young adult (YA) literature but still feels superior enough to dictate to those who do. And with this latest instalment of ‘YA bashing’ comes critique of the critics – as many start pointing to a patriarchal undercurrent that runs beneath such articles that claim young adult and children’s fiction is unworthy.

  • October 2, 2014
Beyond ableism and ignorance: disability and fiction

Beyond ableism and ignorance: disability and fiction

Youth literature has the ability to shape our attitudes to subcultures, and been proven to create empathy by reducing prejudice… So, if the genre has such potential for inclusivity, ‘why are so many of these characters white, straight, able-bodied and middle-class?’ (as YA author James Dawson put it recently in the Guardian).

  • September 30, 2014
By teens, for teens: the Inky Awards

By teens, for teens: the Inky Awards

In August, Hollywood’s annual Teen Choice Awards felt the sting of backlash when it was revealed they were excluding the event’s most vital element: teens. The annual awards show honours achievements in pop culture – from film and TV to music and sport – as voted for by teens (aged 13 to 19). But backlash came (along with a Twitter hashtag: #teensdonthaveachoiceawards) when it was revealed that the Fox Network had ignored the votes of viewers and prematurely chosen winners days before public voting polls closed.

  • September 19, 2014
Review: The Boy’s Own Manual to Being a Proper Jew

Review: The Boy’s Own Manual to Being a Proper Jew

Yossi is seventeen years old and lives in Melbourne’s biggest Jewish suburb of Caulfield. He attends Beth Dovid high school and is among their most spiritual and dedicated students. His mother died of bowel cancer when he was very young, and now there’s just Yossi, his father and older sister, Talya – a close family, and Yossi is especially preoccupied with making his father proud of him.

  • September 15, 2014
How to buy books for young adults

How to buy books for young adults

‘Excuse me, where are the boys’ books? I’m looking to buy for a 16-year-old.’

I overheard this question while browsing in a bookshop recently. I felt insta-rage, and wanted to explode into a rant about gender-specific books and how there’s no such thing as “girl” books and “boy” books because books don’t have sex organs, for cryin’ out loud! But I reined in my uproar, and seeing as I was browsing in the same section, I offered to help this woman who was looking to buy a young adult book for her grandson.

  • September 2, 2014
Fan-Girling Over Super Heroines

Fan-Girling Over Super Heroines

The testosterone-fuelled BIFF! BANG! KAPOW! of classic comics can seem uninviting, filled with spandex-clad men and swooning damsels who hold limited appeal outside the stereotypical 18-35 year-old male demographic. But things are changing in the world of comics, with the widespread introduction of more diverse characters and female-friendly storylines than ever before. For young, female readers in particular, there are plenty of comics to fan-girl over.

  • August 19, 2014
Australia Needs Diverse Books

Australia Needs Diverse Books

Back in May a group of American authors began the ‘We Need Diverse Books’ campaign – a call to action for more minority representation in youth literature. Their mission statement reads: ‘We recognize many kinds of diversity, including (but not limited to) LGBTQIA, people of color, those impacted by their gender, those with disabilities, ethnic/cultural/religious minorities, etc. Our mission is to promote or amplify diversification efforts and increase visibility for diverse books and authors, with a goal of empowering a wide range of readers in the process.’

  • August 6, 2014
YA is the new black

YA is the new black

Back in 2012, Daniel Radcliffe hosted Saturday Night Live (SNL) and began his opening monologue thusly: ‘To the children who love Harry Potter, I want to say your enthusiasm was the real magic. I so enjoyed being on the journey with you. And to the adults who bought the Harry Potter books and devoured them, I just want to say… those books were for children. You were reading children’s books!’ And it was funny, because it was true. A whole slew of adult readers who perhaps hadn’t picked up a children’s book since they themselves were children, read J.K. Rowling’s series with as much enthusiasm as the young readership it was intended for. Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series drew a similarly voracious adult fanbase.

  • July 1, 2014
Who run the book world? GIRLS!

Who run the book world? GIRLS!

‘It’s no wonder boys aren’t reading – the children’s book market is run by women.’ So claimed the headline of an April article in The Times.

*Cue Liz Lemon eye-roll*

  • June 17, 2014
The Fault in the Cult of John Green

The Fault in the Cult of John Green

I like John Green as much as the next YA-aficionado. I’ve snot-cried through his books, and chuckled over his YouTube videos. But now it’s time to talk about the media-led oversaturation of John Green, and the insulting way he’s been heralded as the saviour of young adult fiction.

  • May 20, 2014
Where are all the great young adult TV shows?

Where are all the great young adult TV shows?

The box office is once again dominated by movie adaptations of young adult novels: there’s John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, Veronica Roth’s Divergent, Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games Mockingjay – Part 1, James Dashner’s The Maze Runner, Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy and Lois Lowry’s The Giver – to name a few of the YA adaptations coming in 2014. But it’s a British small-screen adaptation of a young adult series which has really captured my attention, and demonstrates that YA can be adapted for TV to great effect.

  • May 6, 2014
Magabala Books and the importance of Indigenous YA literature

Magabala Books and the importance of Indigenous YA literature

In 2012 I wrote my first column for Kill Your Darlings: ‘You are not alone: Why we need more Indigenous writers and characters in Australian YA.’

Two years later and it’s still mainly specialist and independent publishers representing Indigenous authors and characters. But if you do want to read Aussie young adult (YA) books in which these characters and authors are celebrated and given voice, look to Magabala Books.

  • April 22, 2014
The young adult books of my young adulthood

The young adult books of my young adulthood

In March, Penguin Books Australia rereleased Melina Marchetta’s first novel as part of its Australian Children’s Classics series. Looking for Alibrandi was first published in 1992; the first print run sold out in two months, and Marchetta’s debut went on to win the Children’s Book Council of Australia Children’s Book of the Year Award. Marchetta also wrote the screenplay for the book’s film adaptation, which won her a Film Critics Circle of Australia Best Screenplay award in 2000, as well as an Australian Film Institute Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.

  • April 8, 2014
A children’s lit prize of one’s own

A children’s lit prize of one’s own

Earlier this year, Readings Bookstore announced the creation of The Readings Children’s Book Prize. The eligibility criteria for the 2014 Prize was specified as ‘a work of published fiction, written for children aged 5–12’.

  • March 25, 2014
The fault with a sick-lit debate

The fault with a sick-lit debate

American author John Green’s young adult (YA) novel The Fault in Our Stars has been a bestselling juggernaut since its release in 2012. Green’s book was somewhat inspired by his friendship with Esther Earl, whose posthumous memoir This Star Won’t Go Out was released in January this year.

  • March 11, 2014
Graphic novels and ‘reluctant readers’

Graphic novels and ‘reluctant readers’

Last year the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) added the first graphic novel to its VCE English text list. Maus by Art Spiegelman is about a Jewish cartoonist coming to terms with his father’s story of surviving Hitler’s Europe. It’s wonderful that Maus has been added, but considering Spiegelman won the Pulitzer for Maus back in 1992, was it really such a bold move by the VCAA – or just long overdue?

  • February 25, 2014
Let’s talk about Speak

Let’s talk about Speak

I want to leave, transfer, warp myself to another galaxy. I want to confess everything, hand over the guilt and mistake and anger to someone else. There is a beast in my gut, I can hear it scraping away at the inside of my ribs. Even if I dump the memory, it will stay with me, staining me — Excerpt from ‘Speak’

  • February 11, 2014
Alex Award: introducing teen readers to adult books

Alex Award: introducing teen readers to adult books

It continually amazes me that there are people out there (let’s call them literary snobs) who absolutely refuse to read young adult (YA) books. Now, I often say that I’m not a big fan of memoirs and biographies – but that’s me disliking a specific genre. People who point-blank refuse to read anything with a whiff of teen appeal are dismissing an entire readership – not just a single niche genre, but every book in a vast and wonderful literary world. That absolutely boggles the mind – especially because children and young adults don’t have nearly the same qualms and prejudices against adult books.

  • January 28, 2014
Why children’s and YA literature deserves more media attention

Why children’s and YA literature deserves more media attention

If you’re not meant to judge a book by its cover, then please don’t judge a readership by the coverage it receives in the mainstream media. Earlier this month, Jonathan Myerson blundered his way into a Twitter backlash with his article ‘Children’s fiction is not great literature’ in which he puts forth the argument that only adult literature ‘confronts the range of human experience’. The best *drops mic, walks away* rebuttal to this came from young adult (YA) Carnegie award-winning author Patrick Ness.

  • December 17, 2013
All grown up: a brief history of The Little Bookroom

All grown up: a brief history of The Little Bookroom

Across the road from Flinders Street Station there is a little street called Degraves. At one end there’s a splash of street art adorning walls and dumpsters, while the other end remains Parisian: all black umbrellas, quaint cafés, tucked-away restaurants and the world’s oldest bookshop for children and young adults–The Little Bookroom.

  • December 2, 2013
Written for teenagers, censored by adults: an interview with Dianne Touchell

Written for teenagers, censored by adults: an interview with Dianne Touchell

Last year young adult (YA) author, Dianne Touchell, released her contemporary debut Creepy & Maud. It’s a suburban love story about a girl with Trichotillomania (a compulsive urge to pull out one’s own hair), and the unnamed next-door-neighbor boy with a slight case of Haphephobia (a fear of touching and being touched), who watches and woos her with literary quotes he holds up in his bedroom window. The two fall in love amidst their parents’ neighbouring warfare.

  • October 8, 2013
The adult vs children’s lit debate: an interview with Morris Gleitzman

The adult vs children’s lit debate: an interview with Morris Gleitzman

There’s been much debate in the world of young adult literature after children’s author/illustrator Shoo Rayner posted a blog questioning the decision to award author Patrick Ness the Carnegie Medal (the British Children’s Book Award). The post was ‘Can children have their prize back please?’ and it caused a mild (but dignified) Twitter storm between Ness and Rayner, which everyone has since weighed in on.

  • August 19, 2013
Discovering YA

Discovering YA

It seems fitting that in Australia there are two publishing initiatives searching for new voices in the Young Adult (YA) readership; after all, YA is all about discovery and firsts. Both Text Publishing Company’s Text Prize and Hardie Grant Egmont’s Ampersand Project are finding new authors and remarkable books to feed this forever popular readership.

  • July 22, 2013
Glory Books

Glory Books

Not too long ago, I stumbled upon a particularly heinous form of bookish torture, when a friend confessed to me that she wouldn’t let here 10-year-old daughter read beyond Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
‘They’re too dark,’ she said, ‘book two was already keeping her up at night.’
‘B-b-but! The Triwizard Tournament! Dumbledore’s Army! Ron and Hermione!’ I exclaimed.

  • June 4, 2013
Adults: Young and New

Adults: Young and New

There is a new readership amongst us: they’re no longer young adult, but not quite adult – they are ‘new adult’ – a term coined by St. Martin’s Press back in 2009, for books featuring characters in their ‘college years’ and originally targeted at readers just out of high school. These are books that contrast the impotence of teenage youth with the aimless uncertainty of early adulthood; illustrating that getting older doesn’t necessarily mean ‘getting it together.’

  • April 25, 2013
Dear Jennifer Byrne…

Dear Jennifer Byrne…

Dear Ms Byrne,

Did you know that if the manuscripts of To Kill A Mockingbird and Catcher in the Rye were pitched today, they would most likely be marketed to the young adult readership? Now, imagine if that were the case and you didn’t review either book on your wonderful program, simply because it had a ‘young adult’ label attached. Think if you never met Holden Caulfield or Scout Finch, and only because they were young people telling their coming-of-age stories.

  • March 19, 2013
Waiting for Jellicoe

Waiting for Jellicoe

Here’s the latest news straight from the teenage underground, concerning a movie adaptation of a rather sacred young adult novel from one of Australia’s most beloved authors: Melina Marchetta.

  • February 11, 2013
The dark divide of YA fiction

The dark divide of YA fiction

Last month an English teacher took to the The Age opinion page to shake his fist at the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) for including Gabriel García Márquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera on the Year 12 reading list.

  • January 30, 2013
You are not alone: Why we need more Indigenous writers and characters in Australian YA

You are not alone: Why we need more Indigenous writers and characters in Australian YA

This year I read two wonderful Australian young adult (YA) books, written by Indigenous authors and featuring Aboriginal protagonists. Grace Beside Me (Magabala Books, 2012) by Sue McPherson is set in 2008, the year of Kevin Rudd’s ‘Sorry’; it’s a coming-of-age story about Fuzzy Mac, her Nan and Pop and their small town of Laurie. The second was a twisting Eco-Dystopian with Dreamtime themes; The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf (Walker Books, 2012) by Ambelin Kwaymullina is the first in a new series called The Tribe.

  • December 6, 2012

New Librarians' Symposium /

A Local Love Story: Librarians and #LoveOzYA

A Local Love Story: Librarians and #LoveOzYA

Danielle surveys the YA literary landscape in Australia and calls for librarians to rally behind young readers, revolutionise their YA collections, and embrace Australian authors! Sounds like our kind of movement!

  • May 31, 2017
Wheeler Centre

Wheeler Centre / Online

Daily Life

Daily Life / Online

Remember Heartbreak High

Remember Heartbreak High

There’s a famous quote that goes: “There are three types of lies – lies, damn lies, and statistics”. It’s also an apt summary of politics, and Tony Abbott’s latest political back-flip in particular.

  • November 26, 2014
The Celebrity Who’s Using Social Media For Good

The Celebrity Who’s Using Social Media For Good

In 2014 alone, there were enough cringeworthy celebrity social media faux pas to keep tabloids in print. From Bill Cosby tweeting “Go ahead. Meme me!” right when he’s been accused of raping 13 women to musician Diplo’s sexist campaign to “Get Taylor Swift a booty”, social media stupidity among celebs has become inevitable and ‘worst social media blunders’ now part of the end-of-year media roundup.

  • January 14, 2015
When will we write an obituary for literary sexism?

When will we write an obituary for literary sexism?

Colleen McCullough sadly died last week, but instead of celebrating her career as a neurophysiologist and bestselling author, The Australian newspaper turned the tide of conversation with a misogynistic obituary.

  • February 1, 2015
Is concern for Harper Lee’s mental health ageist?

Is concern for Harper Lee’s mental health ageist?

Hey, Boo: Harper Lee and ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ was a documentary released in 2010, to mark the novel’s 50th anniversary. During an interview, author Anna Quindlen asked “Can you imagine the pressure on Harper Lee to write a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird? I mean, once the movie came out, and you could see that it kept selling every year – they must just have thrown rose petals and chocolates and millions of dollars at her feet, and I don’t know whether she couldn’t do it – but I prefer to think that she wouldn’t do it.”

  • February 17, 2015
Things no one tells you about romance readers

Things no one tells you about romance readers

Picture a typical romance-reader, somebody who enjoys Harlequin or Mills & Boon titles. Have you got an image of them in your head? Chances are it’s of the bored housewife or lonely cat lady persuasion.

roma-award-win
This article was awarded the 2015 ROMA by Romance Writers of Australia – recognizing professional, positive media coverage of the romance industry
  • 11 March, 2015
What Makes a Good Apology?

What Makes a Good Apology?

After three weeks of sustained pressure, Bronwyn Bishop finally apologised to tax payers on Thursday for her $5000 chopper trip.

  • July 31, 2015
Stella Prize Schools Blog

Stella Prize Schools Blog / Online

Gender-flipping and Twilight

Gender-flipping and Twilight

Discussions about gender-flipping have occurred with some regularity over recent years in the American film industry, the source of so much of Australia’s cultural consumption.

  • 19th November 2015
Why Dystopia is not a Trend

Why Dystopia is not a Trend

Like vampires, zombies, and ‘sick-lit’ before it, dystopian fiction has been subject to a lot of ‘trend’ talk lately. This sci-fi sub-genre has been crowding bookshelves and film adaptations have been ruling the box office – particularly in the young adult (YA) area. As is inherent in labelling dystopia a trend, people are inevitably wondering when it will end and what the next big thing will be.

  • 21st December 2015
Judge the Publishing Industry by Its Covers

Judge the Publishing Industry by Its Covers

In recent years the likes of the Stella Prize and VIDA: Women in Literary Arts have illuminated some of the ways men still dominate the literary world, publishing irrefutable evidence of disparities in review coverage of male and female authors.

  • 3rd March 2016
Sex in YA

Sex in YA

Writer and reviewer Danielle Binks discusses sex and taboos in YA. How far have we come since the release of Judy Blume’s Forever in 1975?

  • 3rd May 2016
Women’s Bodies in Speculative Fiction

Women’s Bodies in Speculative Fiction

For her fourth Stella Schools Blog guest post, writer and reviewer Danielle Binks speaks with YA authors about the representation of women characters in fantasy YA, and how they approach the issue in their own work.

  • 27th July 2016
Mothers In YA

Mothers In YA

In her latest Stella Schools Blog guest post, writer and reviewer Danielle Binks asks us to take another look at the role of mothers in YA.

  • 28th September 2016
Junior Books+Publishing

Junior Books+Publishing / Print [subscriber/print only]

A Serious Lack

Why are there so few YA books with Indigenous characters?

  • Term 1, 2013 issue

We Need Diverse Books … in Australia

A US-led campaign to address the lack of diversity in children’s literature has sparked long-overdue conversations in Australia.

  • Term 2, 2015 issue

Video Created the Publishing Star

A number of high-profile vloggers have recently announced book deals. An investigation into whether or not this trend is taking off in Australia

  • Term 3, 2015 issue

YA in Translation

Why is there so little translated YA fiction published in Australia?

  • Term 4, 2015 issue
Unstuck in the middle: Middle-grade fiction in Australia

Unstuck in the middle: Middle-grade fiction in Australia

Middle-grade children’s fiction is underrepresented— and often misunderstood — in Australian publishing.

  • Term 2, 2016 ISSUE
Newswrite – NSW Writers’ Centre Magazine

Newswrite – NSW Writers’ Centre Magazine / Print [subscriber/print only]

Looking Beyond the Labels

Dissecting the New Adult genre.

  • Issue 214, April-May 2014

More than the Sum of its Award

A look at The Stella Prize three years on.

  • Issue 221, June-July 2015