Get to know our Youth Ambassadors: Celine Lindeque

By Celine Lindeque

Celine is an avid reader with a passion for the Australian literary landscape. She works as a software engineer and enjoys writing and reading about chaotic women in STEM. When she isn’t reading, you can find her practicing martial arts.

Youth Ambassadors

If you’re a writer, what kind of writing do you do? Are you working on anything right now?

I’ve worked on a few young adult novels over the years, to varying levels of completion. My current work-in-progress straddles the line between young adult and adult, with one foot in the deep inner world of the protagonist and the other planted in the messy, somewhat self-inflicted situation around her. I’m currently re-drafting (aka re-writing) this work and trying to slot plot lines into place. It’s got multiple women in STEM, female friendships, a robot with a questionable understanding of the world and highlights the dangers of the internet through a female perspective I haven’t seen explored before. I’m very excited to complete it… if a book can ever be complete.

What are your reading goals for 2024?

Every year I have two main goals: firstly, to read the year-minus-2000 books (so, 24 books in 2024), and secondly, to diversify the authorship and fictional settings of my reading. The second point I realise will need some explanation. Since 2020, I have plotted the covers of all the books I read that year onto a map and drawn lines to where on Earth they were set. For example, 'Social Queue' by Kay Kerr is set in Brisbane. So, I would drop the book cover into my virtual Pacific Ocean and draw a line from it to Brisbane. The first year I did this, I realised most of my reads for the year were set in the United States, and I was neglecting Australian-set stories. Doing this each year has allowed me to become more conscious of reading geographically diversely.

What book or author do you always recommend?

What book or author do you always recommend?

I can’t choose one so I’m going to squeeze two in here.

For a young adult book, my go to is 'Social Queue' by Kay Kerr. It’s a lighthearted read that feels like watching 'To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before'. Plus, it’s set in Brisbane! It follows Zoe, who is starting university, as she begins an internship at a media company. For an article, she writes about how she’s never been anyone's crush. However, after the article is published, she quickly finds out this belief is false and in fact, she’s got a line up of secret admirers! Zoe sets out to interview and write about each of them. This story structure and fun romantic adventures makes 'Social Queue' a great re-read.

For an adult book, I have to shout out my favourite read of 2023: 'Every Version of You' by Grace Chan. Fun fact! I bought this book at the Brisbane Writers Festival last year! It was the perfect book for me, featuring a deeply thought out virtual world not unlike the metaverse, in which people spend their lives inside because the world outside has been ravaged by climate change. It’s a book that made me think hard about the future of technology, Australia, culture, disability, and other people’s perspectives on humanity.

Any upcoming releases you can’t wait to get your hands on?

Any upcoming releases you can’t wait to get your hands on?

'Her Majesty’s League of Remarkable Young Ladies' by Ali Stegert is a book I’ve been waiting sooooo long for and it’s finally being released in Australia in May by Scholastic! Ali is an Australian (and Queensland) author whom I’ve been following for some time now. The book features a girl-genius protagonist in a Victorian era setting who is recruited as a spy for Her Majesty. It sounds perfect for me! Another book is 'Moonbound' by Robin Sloan. I read one of his other books 'Sourdough' right at the start of the pandemic and it’s stuck with me ever since. Again, the female protagonist works in the tech industry for a company developing questionable tech. However, the story focuses instead on a strange, seemingly magical sourdough starter she is gifted which leads to a newfound love of baking, in addition to other antics. I loved 'Sourdough', so I’m very excited to read 'Moonbound' when it’s released later this year.

Where is your favourite place to read?

Where is your favourite place to read?

Over Christmas, I bought an armchair and wrangled it into a corner of my room specifically for reading. So, I’m very much enjoying having that designated reading space. Oddly, my cat hasn’t warmed up to it yet, but I know when winter rolls around she’ll adore it!

Do you prefer paperback, hardcover or ebook?

I see benefits to all three, but, if I have to choose… paperback! There’s nothing quite like the smell of a physical book, or the comfort of curling around its floppy pages. That being said, I am an advocate for e-readers. Did you know you can borrow, and sync, library books onto many kinds?! My kobo has been an absolute reading game-changer for me.

Read more about the 2024 Youth Ambassadors!
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