#LoveOzYA in America

As an Australian reader and blogger, I’ve always noticed the way how the American culture seeps into my daily life. We’re constantly bombarded by American media, we consume copious amounts of American shows, movies, and podcasts, and I think I’d be fairly safe in saying that most of the books we all read are set in America, or written by American authors. America is everywhere. Sure, we still have #LoveOzYA and UKYA, and the occasional book from another country, but it’s without a doubt that most art forms are slowly being Americanised.

The first time I really thought about this was upon hearing of how Aussie authors were getting published in America, and how they had to change parts of their novel so that it would be easier for their readers. I mean, come on. This really frustrates me. If the rest of the world has to work out the weird American names for things, like sophomore and PB&J, I’m pretty sure they can infer what we’re writing about from the context. Despite all the memes about Australians having another language — most of which consists of the words ‘yeah nah’, ‘mate’, and ‘barbie’ — I can assure you that we don’t speak bogan 100% of the time.

But Aussie authors having to change their books for the sake of the American market isn’t the only thing that frustrates me. It’s also my own writing.

Let me explain.

Because I’ve grown up consuming so much American content, it’s affected the way not only what I understand about American culture, but also my specific word choice. There are a few variations in words, like ‘flashlight’ and ‘torch’, or ‘sidewalk’ and ‘footpath’, and because of all the American shows I’ve watched and the books I’ve read, I have to really think about the ‘Australian’ words for things sometimes. And because of that, I’ve begun to doubt whether I could really set a story in Australia and make it sound authentic. It’s really sad.

But the thing is: I want to read more Aussie stories. I want to write Aussie stories. I’ve lived in Melbourne my whole life, but because of how much influence the American culture has had on my life, I’ve found it easier to set stories in the States. The last manuscript I wrote was set in New York City, not just because I thought that would be a cool location for the characters, but also because I felt so much more comfortable being able to indulge in that American part of my brain and not have to stop and think about the Australian equivalent to Cheetos or whether or not we have Applebee’s in Melbourne.

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On the one hand, I want to write stories for Aussie teens. I want to write for the #LoveOzYA community and share my Melbourne experiences. But on the other hand, I wonder whether my life as an Australian has been tainted because of how Americanised our society has become. But if that’s the case, won’t most Aussie millennials be the same? Will we still have ‘genuine’ Australian stories from the next generation, or will we have to shift our perceptions and rethink what being ‘Aussie’ really is? Can we really retain any of the individuality of our country in a world overrun by Starbucks, corndogs, and milk dud popcorn?

Sorry, everyone. I’m just having a crisis about my own identity. You know, it doesn’t help me overcome my crisis when random people at the cafe counter ask me where my accent is from, or if I moved to Melbourne to study. My staple response is that I just watch too much TV… then I go back home and cry about not being Australian enough over Twinkies and Friends. 

Maybe I’ll just have to move to America. Sorry, Australia.

Here are some #LoveOzYA titles to keep an eye out for in the USA!

Let's Talk

Well, that’s my rant for the day! Do you think the world is becoming more Americanised? What are some of your favourite books written by non-American authors? Have you read many #LoveOzYA books that have been published in America? I’d love to know!

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15 thoughts on “#LoveOzYA in America

  1. what an interesting rant!!! I never knew The Book Thief was written by an Australian author, which was surprising because it’s so rare I come across an author I know or am told is Australian ❤ I remember i was reading "How I Became Stupid" by Martin Page, and Martin Page is French and the book was written in his native language, and in the book itself he was bitter about how globalized English is. It was eye-opening, for sure. I love the idea of connecting to people across the world, but it's terrible to see someone feel disconnected from their own unique culture. ❤

  2. I’m sorry you feel like Americans are taking over 😦 Ironically, in my experiences (as an American), I have this growing feeling that our pop culture and interests are becoming very British. Even in high school/college I read so much British literature I started spelling everything “wrong” with an extra U, a habit that I still catch myself doing.

  3. I’m American & I don’t understand American culture, dammit! Don’t move here, it’s horrible these days. I’d love to move to Australia! I think in some way or another we lose our identities for a brief moment. Keep doing you, lady!

  4. I FEEL THIS 100%. My own WIP is set in NYC, where I’ve lived now for about two and a half years, but I was born and raised in a U.S. territory to two wonderful Filipino parents. My main character has to be written that she’s from Hawaii, even though I know squat about Hawaii. Growing up non-black POC consuming nothing but westernized culture is tough (not to undermine your own experience). I forget how to speak my own native tongue while writing; I worry how much of my mother language I can put in before an English-speaking-only American will say, “Okay yeah that’s enough for me.” Sorry if I’m putting so much on your plate, but man, this post really resonated with me. Honestly, what’s been getting me through is the fact that most of the time, I’m kind of just like, “Ah, fuck it,” if you’ll pardon my language. Personally, I prefer reading books from all over the world, even if my Goodreads profile says otherwise. I think another issue is how to distribute Aussie/UK/everywhere else literature to the hands of American readers as well, but I think that might be much bigger than I imagine. If it were up to me, I’d want to read about #ownvoices characters from all over the world, even if they spoke 100% bogan.

  5. Girl you can write your own aussie experience stuff what everyone says (plus us non americans are all well versed in american so it’s not like you won’t be understood). It’s funny though I constantly have to think about aussie sayings I don’t realise I use because my boss is English and I have to proof the promo emails to make sure our clients will understand any slang and he hasn’t made it too British XD It’s weird how much you do know about australia when someone from another country points out things you never realised weren’t universal. I’d love more aussie stories from you but if you want to do US do you (although I bet you’ll still slip aussieness into whatever you do since it’s you). Awesome post I need to consume more aussie arts too I think majority of people read and watch US shows more then anything else.

  6. I’m Australian and I find I unintentionally say a lot of American terms. Every time I try to write a story set in Australia, it always ends up a little bit Americanised. For example, I always forget about the differences in driving.

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