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.
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!
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!