Has YA fiction left us thirsting for a green-eyed, brooding, leather-jacket-wearing babe? Why does stalking lead to love so often, and when did unsolicited DMs replace romantic letters? Are we waiting for a meet cute full of unrealistic standards and expectations? Dhonielle Clayton, Mackenzi Lee, and Jenna Guillaume recount the lies about love and relationships that young adult fiction taught them and how it has influenced the way they write romance now, with host Sarah Ayoub.

Supported by the City of Parramatta.

Dhonielle Clayton (International)

Dhonielle Clayton

Dhonielle is an author, a former elementary and middle school librarian and secondary school teacher, COO of the non-profit We Need Diverse Books, and co-founder of Cake Literary, a creative kitchen whipping up decadent - and decidedly diverse - literary confections for middle grade, young adult, and women's fiction readers. Her most recent book, The Everlasting Rose, the sequel to the acclaimed The Belles, debuted on the New York Times bestseller in March 2019. Her short stories have been published in anthologies Unbroken: 13 Stories Starring Disabled Teens, Meet Cute and The Radical Element.

Mackenzi Lee (International)

Mackenzi Lee

Mackenzi Lee holds a BA in history and an MFA in writing for children and young adults from Simmons College. She is the New York Times bestselling author of the historical fantasy novels This Monstrous Thing, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, which won a 2018 Stonewall Honor Award and the New England Book Award, and its sequel, The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy, which debuted at #3 on the New York Times bestseller list. She is also the author of Bygone Badass Broads. When not writing, she works as an independent bookseller, drinks too much Diet Coke, and romps with her St. Bernard, Queenie

Jenna Guillaume (Australian)

Jenna Guillaume

Jenna Guillaume is the author of the young adult rom-com What I Like About Me. She is a former editor-at-large for BuzzFeed Australia, where she wrote about very important things like pop culture, identity, feminism, social media, and Chris Hemsworth's biceps. Previously she worked in the features department at Girlfriend magazine. Jenna lives in Sydney with her husband and one very fluffy dog.

Sarah Ayoub (Australian)

Sarah Ayoub

Sarah Ayoub is a freelance journalist and author. Her writing has appeared in publications such as The Guardian, The Sun-Herald, ELLE, SBS, Marie-Claire, and the Sunday Telegraph. Sarah teaches journalism at The University of Notre Dame in Sydney, where she is currently researching the representations of culturally diverse female teens in Australian Young Adult literature. She is the author of Hate is Such a Strong Word and The Yearbook Committee and is passionate about empowering young people to see the value in their own personal stories.