The launch party for Polly Courtney’s sixth novel, Feral Youth, was held at Grace bar, Piccadilly, on Wednesday 26th June. In keeping with the theme of the book, it was a riotous affair with over 200 people in attendance, including many charities and youth organisations who had helped Polly research the book, national and local press, as well as members of Polly’s “collaborative publishing team”.
In her speech, Polly individually thanked everyone who played a part in the crafting, publication and promotion of Feral Youth, including the youth cast of the book trailer, which was aired at the event. She explained that she had taken the decision to walk out on her publishing contract with HarperCollins in 2011 “to take a risk” and to escape the “chick lit mould” into which her publisher had previously placed her.
“This book is not chick lit,” Polly told guests. “It’s a book about rich and poor, haves and have-nots, them and us… but most of all it’s about what it’s like to live like Alesha, a vulnerable 15-year-old girl who at best is ignored by most of society. I wanted to give the Aleshas of the world a voice.”
In a recreation of the heady atmosphere of the August riots – the backdrop for the novel – the 200 guests were invited to ‘enter the world of Feral Youth’, hearing directly from characters via their mobile phones and keeping updated via a wall of live images, videos and BBMs as the riots took hold.
Polly was on hand to sign copies of her book before guests let their hair down to a live DJ.