Elizabeth Claire Alberts is a PhD candidate in creative writing at Macquarie University, where she also teaches and lectures in creative writing. In 2012, she was granted a fellowship at the International Youth Library in Munich, Germany to work on her thesis on young adult verse novels. Her published work includes poetry, children’s fiction, and environmental journalism.

Writing the Young Adult Verse Novel

An Interview with Three Authors

The contemporary verse novel for children and young adults, a hybrid genre that combines poetry and narrative, emerged concurrently in Australia and the United States in the late 1990s, and has continued to proliferate. In this interview, Elizabeth Claire Alberts discusses the young adult verse novel with three award-winning writers—Helen Frost, Steven Herrick and Ronald Koertge. The initial questions investigate how these authors position themselves, and their texts, within the verse novel genre—a classification that has been problematic because of its terminological implications. The subsequent questions consider the thinking and writing processes involved in creating a young adult verse novel, and if—and how—these processes differ from the creation of prose narratives or other types of poetry. Several questions explore the collaboration between poetry and narrative, and how these authors deal with the dualistic demands of the verse novel form. The creative processes involved in writing young adult verse novels have not been thoroughly discussed in contemporary theory, and the responses from Frost, Herrick and Koertge offer an enlightening perspective of writing in this form.