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Hunter youth writer pens fourth topical text


She writes because she has faith in the current generation of teens.

She knows from her own experiences that they are living through an intense phase of life, experiencing changes, growth, and “figuring out”, but Gabrielle Reid believes the Hunter’s young adults will find their own way to leave a mark.

The 33-year-old Macquarie Hills-based young adult author has no doubt today’s teens face challenges unknown to previous cohorts, and so she writes to offer them stories and messages they can use through this time.

“Everything you feel at that time of life you feel really intensely and I think there’s so much you can do with that,” she says.

“And when you have something important to say it’s a good age. I think teens are really receptive to different points of view, with a little less bias.”

Gabrielle recently published her third book ‘Josie Robs a Bank and Other Stories’, a new short story collection for readers “straddling the line between teen and adult”.

The 182-page paperback tackles taboo topics like sexual abuse, eating disorders, fat shaming, self-harm, depression and discrimination, all through the eyes of her teenage characters that are both relatable and resilient.

It follows her first novel, The Things We Can’t Undo, a young adult novel that won the Australian Association of Family Therapists Book Award in 2019.

Gabrielle also contributed to a children’s anthology Slippery, Slimy, Feathered and Furred, published by Hunter Writers Centre and released in December 2021.

She has achieved all of this while studying a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Newcastle, study that follows her Masters in Creative Writing, from which she graduated from the University of Canberra in 2011.

The talented writer first began her learning with a teaching degree from Sydney’s Macquarie University, graduating more than a decade ago.

As a single mother-of-three, her eldest fast approaching the teenage years, Gabrielle admits to drawing on her own life experience to help form her subject matter.

“I had wonderful parents and plenty of opportunities but I found the teen years hard, I think everyone does,” she told Newcastle Weekly.

“And things that have turned out to be lifelong battles started then and I wasn’t equipped to deal with it.”

Her writing became her solace.

“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” she says.

“I like to read and I like to write, and ever since I was a kid I’ve wanted to be a writer, that was my childhood dream.”

When she was eight years old she wrote a manuscript about a girl with a dress that had a magic pocket that held anything she wanted.

“I think I made it through chapter one and gave up so I couldn’t even tell you what she found.”

Through her business Just Keep Reiding, Gabrielle continues to write, expecting to publish her fourth young adult fictional work later this year.

And while she’s enjoyed seeing her name in print, her long term goal in the literary world remains the same.

“I’d like to earn enough from writing that I can pay tax on it.” 

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