SALLY-ANN Partridge is an award-winning young adult novelist from Cape Town. She was named as one of the Mail & Guardian’s 200 Young South Africans, a distinction given out annually to notable South Africans under the age of 35. Her fourth novel, Sharp Edges, will hit shelves in August. She recently made the shortlist for the Commonwealth Writer’s Short Story Prize.
When did you start writing?
I’ve always known I wanted to be a writer. Even before I knew how to construct sentences and paragraphs.
There are hundreds of filled notebooks in my old bedroom that my parents are forbidden from throwing away.
Why do you write for young adults?
I find young people far more fascinating than adults. They’re fearless and resilient, and can bounce back from anything.
Do you think today’s young adults are very different from you at that age?
Teens today seem a lot more mature than I was at that age, but then again I could have been immature.
It could be because there are so many more media channels available to them, like the internet, which exposes them to absolutely everything.
What were you like as a teen?
I held on to my childhood for a long time, then one day I woke up as a wild, uncontrollable creature that drove my parents insane.
Thankfully that didn’t last and by my senior year I was quite bookish and introverted.
What inspires you?
Everything: books, films, music, a random flash of someone walking down the street. Most of my ideas come to me in dreams.
What do you think young adults should read?
Young adults should read whatever they please. Everyone has his or her own tastes.
How would you encourage youngsters to read? And write?
Books are very expensive, and the best and most cost-effective way of bridging the gap between books and readers is libraries.