Elena Turner will join Radio Melbourne’s Jacinta Parsons and three of Australia’s best-selling young adult authors to debate sci-fi versus fantasy at this weekend’s Williamtown Literary Festival. She speaks with Goya Dmytryshchak


What’s your connection to Hobsons Bay?


I was born in Sydney and moved to Williamstown in 2012. I am currently in year 10 at Williamstown High School and have really enjoyed my time at the school, which has given me opportunities to pursue interests including debating, music, the environment, craft and woodwork. I recently started as a casual at Napoli’s fruit and vegetable shop in Ferguson Street, which gives me exposure to some of the great characters in the community. When I can, I enjoy volunteering at Hobsons Bay Boomerang Bags in Altona. I like knowing that we are recycling fabric that was destined for landfill into viable alternatives to plastic shopping bags.


Tell me all about what you like about Williamstown?


I love the botanic gardens and the beach, but also how easy it is to get on the train with friends to go to Yarraville and the city. There is a great community feel that you can experience having an ice cream at Nelson Place, going to the farmers’ market or being a part of the Willy Lit Festival.


What don’t you like or what could be improved?


I couldn’t really think of any improvements.


What’s you favourite cafe and/or restaurant in the area?


My favourite dish is massaman beef curry from Siam Kitchen in Newport.


Tell me about your passion for young adult literature?


I love talking about books with like-minded people and authors at the young adult book club at Yarraville’s Sun Bookshop. It has given me exposure to books I never would have thought of reading. I have learned the more books you read, the more books you discover.


What is the debate you’ll participate in for the Willy Lit Fest?


I am excited to be part of a great panel – including some established writers and Jacinta Parsons – that will be debating the merits of sci-fi versus fantasy genres. I hope I can provide a useful YA perspective.


The 16th Williamstown Literary Festival will include about 80 authors at 40 events on June 15 and 16. The opening night soiree featuring international best-selling author Caroline Overington in conversation with festival director and comedian Stella Kinsella will be on Friday, June 14, from 6.30-9pm. Details: willylitfest.org.au