Saturday was the Boston Teen Author Festival and it was a huge success! I’m so glad I got to be part of this event. The BTAF staff did such a wonderful job bringing everything together, running thoughtful and fun panels, and sharing enthusiasm about YA. Also major thanks to the Cambridge Public Library staff and the team from Porter Square Books for their hard work at the event and bringing books to so many readers. A few highlights from the day:
Getting to hear my fellow authors’ most useless talents, including reciting all the states in alphabetical order, making some seriously weird faces, and telling the future via hamsters.
Hearing about how MT Anderson worked in the image of a shaved male head into his novel at the last minute.
Learning about how authors use their current concerns about technology and the future to create chilling and emotionally grounded sci-fi worlds.
Being on a panel with amazing authors Francisco X. Stork, Emily Franklin, Stewart Lewis, Huntley Fitzpatrick, and Erin Dionne.
Talking with aforementioned amazing authors about how essential it is to create a complete web of relationships for your main character, not just romantic ones.
Emily Franklin saying that she knows she’s really getting into a story when she starts telling people, “So it turns out…” Love that phrase for the moment of discovery!
Signing books for awesome readers (seriously never gets old).
My mom befriending half the authors and attendees.
A mug full of chocolate minis from the BTAF staff, aka everything I love in one place.
Getting to see and talk to so many wonderful teen readers. You guys warm my heart!
Buttons and mugs, my favorite forms of swag.
Thank you again to everyone who made this event possible, and to everyone who came out and spent the day with us at the Cambridge Public Library.
Is it time for the 2015 Boston Teen Author Festival yet?
The 3rd annual Boston Teen Author Festival is tomorrow! Make sure to come by the Cambridge Public Library tomorrow for lots of writing/reading/YA goodness. I’ll be there along with over twenty other YA authors, talking about writing for teens and lots of different craft points. The general schedule:
Writing Workshop: 9:45-10:30 Doors Open: 10:45 Introduction: 11:15 Meet the Authors!: 11:30-12:15 Panel Session One: 12:30 -1:15 Lunch Break: 1:15-2:00 (Lunch isn’t provided but you’re in Cambridge which means lots of tasty lunch spots around) Panel Session Two: 2:00-2:45 Signing: 3:00-4:00
What better way to spend your Saturday than getting to share in a day of YA awesomeness? Hope to see you there!
“Why do you write for children?” My immediate response to this question is, “I don’t.” … If it’s not good enough for adults, it’s not good enough for children. If a book that is going to be marketed for children does not interest me, a grownup, then I am dishonoring the children for whom the book is intended, and I am dishonoring books. And words.–Madeleine L’Engle
“Likeablity” is a big issue for YA writers and readers. Teen characters, especially teen girl characters, are easily judged for being ‘annoying’ or ‘bitchy’ or for making bad choices–which is how teens and people in general are in real life. We make bad choices, we complain, we say the wrong thing at the wrong time, and that’s part of what makes us human. Even more importantly, it’s a place from which we can grow and learn from these mistakes. YA is all about growing and learning and becoming the person you’re going to be for the rest of your life. Why should that always be ‘likeable?’
In the post, I include a reference to The Whale and teen character Ellie, one of the most unlikeable and most pained teen characters I’ve seen. Although The Whale is decidedly not YA, when I saw the play and heard audience reaction to how unlikeable and seemingly irredeemable Ellie is, I really wanted to have the opportunity to defend her. She’s a mean person who does/says some awful things, but all of her cruelty comes from a place of sadness and anger and grief and isolation. I hope more readers and viewers can take the opportunity to asses characters like Ellie (again, especially teen girl characters) and understand what makes them mean or annoying or frustrating.
It’s less than two weeks to the Boston Teen Author Festival and I’m so excited!
Doors open at 10:45, and we’ll be having four amazing panels. The info has just been announced! I’ll be part of Platonic in Love: Writing strong non-romantic relationships. One of my biggest pet peeves is that YA is all about insta-love, and I’m so glad to have the opportunity to talk about other kinds of love and relationships and friendships in YA with some seriously amazing authors.
Check out the poster below for all the panel/author goodness: