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Presented by State Library Victoria

Stay Up Late and Get a Cat: Books That Changed Me.

Hello and welcome to another installment of Stay Up Late and Get a Cat!

Tonight on the show we welcome two LoveOzYA authors, Allayne Webster and Gabrielle Reid.

Allayne is the author of the 2018 release The Center of My Everything.

Allayne is a passionate writer who also has a passion for  chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate (did we mention chocolate?). She writes because she can help herself. She talks about writing, dreams about writing and gravitates towards keyboards.

So what made her love writing so much? What was THE book that changed her?


I probably wouldn’t be a writer if it weren’t for Judy Blume’s YA novel, Deenie. It’s about a girl who’s mortified to be diagnosed with scoliosis. A sub-character, Barbara, is cruelly nickname ‘The Creeping Crud’ because she suffers from eczema. As a sick and regularly hospitalised teen, it was the first time I’d ever seen myself represented on the page. It was a life changing moment. I’d previously felt invisible, defective, excluded, and now someone – an author – had given me a voice. It’s the moment I realised the power and ability of story to create empathy and understanding, and I was instantly hooked.

Gabrielle Reid’s first YA, The Things We Can’t Undo is her debut novel.

Let’s find out what book changed her life?


I don’t remember a time when I didn’t love books, or want to be a writer. But if I had to choose one book that sticks out as the book that exemplifies the path I’m on, it would be J.R.R. Tolkein’s The Hobbit. Funnily enough, as an adult, I don’t really like fantasy and I find Tolkein rather slow going. So why did I pick this as “the book” for me? When I was a child, each night I would sit on my bed with my elder brother and sister while my Dad read us a chapter or two from The Hobbit. Those moments together, listening to a familiar comforting voice tell us a story he loved, are seared in my memory. And although I went on to become the child who always disappeared by myself to read, I still believe stories only get better when they’re shared – whether in a classroom, a blog review, a twitter chat, a recommendation, or reading to my own children.

Has a book changed your life so far?  Keep reading – because one day a book will change your life.

1 comment


I don't remember a specific book perse. But every book I've read has in some way changed me, even if I don't remember. I more remember times and blocks of books I read.

6th Oct, 18