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The Courage of Vulnerability
A.J. Betts

As an author for young adults, A.J. creates vulnerable, imperfect characters who are on the terrifying cusp of change. Her novels are influenced by her own adolescence, as well as her fifteen years of teaching teenagers in a hospital school, specifically in a mental health setting. As someone who has known anxiety for much of her life, A.J. has learned to persist despite the fear of failure and criticism. In this presentation, A.J. shares how she tries to hold steadfast to her values – ‘be kind; be true; be fearless’ – and how she embraces her vulnerability and sensitivity in a world which keeps demanding she ‘toughen up’. 
About A.J.
A.J. Betts is a Fremantle-based author, speaker, teacher and cyclist. Her latest work is a two-book speculative fiction series, HIVE and ROGUE (Pan Macmillan; 2018, 2019). A.J.'s award-winning third novel, ZAC & MIA, is available in 14 countries, and its recent American television adaptation won two Emmys in 2018. Her earlier novels are WAVELENGTH and SHUTTERSPEED. In 2019, A.J. graduated with a PhD in the topic of Wonder at ECU. A.J. is originally from Queensland but has lived in Western Australia since 2004. She teaches English part-time at the Perth Children's Hospital.