This is a guest post by Sasha Dowdy, a program specialist in the Literary Initiatives Office. It was originally published in the National Book Festival blog.
The Young Adult stage was a busy spot at the National Book Festival this year, for both teens, adults and everyone in-between. Plus, we welcomed three teen moderators on the stage. With a lineup of 17 authors across eight programs, it was a day full of panels, truth-telling and heartfelt connection among the authors, the audience and the books that brought us all together.
- When it comes to telling the truth about liars, E. Lockhart is an expert story-teller. Listen in as she shares the story of how “Family of Liars” came to be, and what it was like to write a prequel to her blockbuster bestseller “We Were Liars.”
- We delight in a splash of magic realism, and R.M. Romero and Rose Szabo deliver it in buckets in this frank talk about their novels, “The Ghosts of Rose Hill” and “We All Fall Down,” respectively. Moderated by the Library’s expert on LGBTQIA+ studies, Meg Metcalf, the authors shared the ghosts and monsters in their novels and in their lives.
- Who doesn’t want to be among winners, especially when they’re so accessible and relatable? Moderated by author Dhonielle Clayton (who also made an appearance on the Main Stage), follow the journeys of award-winning authors and their novels: Malinda Lo with “Last Night at Telegraph Club,” Darcie Little Badger with “A Snake Falls to Earth,” and Donna Barba Higuera with “The Last Cuentista.”
- Whether set in an isolated small town full of secrets or in broad daylight at an elite sleepaway camp, horror finds a way to creep up and take a hold of the reader. Masters of the genre and genre-bending experimentation, Tiffany D. Jackson (“The Weight of Blood”) and Ryan La Sala (“The Honeys”) bring you the stories of real life heartbreak that took shape into horror novels. But it’s not all darkness and dread: every author program from now on needs a fit check.
- Samira Ahmed and Sabaa Tahir create magic onstage and sparks on the page – and vice versa. The two authors brought the heat in their bestselling novels “All My Rage” (Tahir) and “Hollow Fires” (Ahmed) and on stage in a conversation with young author Sasa Aakil and teen moderator Nandini Kotamurthy.
- Nothing can carry us away like a good song, or a swoony romance, or a really good time travel moment. Check out the two novels that weave together music, radio, fashion, love and ambition in this conversation between “Spin Me Right Round” author David Valdes and Ebony Ladelle, debut author of “Love Radio,” moderated by the Library’s Celia Roskin, who splits her time as a full-time Library employee and a YA romance enthusiast.
- We love a fantasy. We love a protagonist who fights to save the world and to protect her heart. And more than anything, we love a good, solid sequel. If you need a new world to dive into (and stay in), don’t miss this conversation with Victoria Aveyard (“Blade Breaker”), Namina Forna (“Merciless Ones”) and Chloe Gong (“Our Violent Ends”), moderated by Austin Ferraro (librarian for teens) and Ava Luo (actual teen).
- There is no one better to close out the Young Adult stage than the current National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, Jason Reynolds, with his new YA title “Ain’t Burned All the Bright.” In conversation with the Library’s Monica Valentine and teen moderator Gabby Maitra, Reynolds covers his newest title, his term as Ambassador, and the realities of the pandemic’s effect on his work in service to young people.
Dig in and enjoy these events from this year’s YA authors!