In addition to his work for adult readers, Matthew Quick is the author of three novels for Young Adults: Sorta Like a Rock Star, Boy21, and most recently, Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock, which received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and School Library Journal, the latter calling it: “A difficult, yet powerful book.” His work has received many honors including a PEN/Hemingway Award Honorable Mention.
Gayle Forman is an award-winning author and journalist whose articles have appeared in numerous publications, including Seventeen, Cosmopolitan, The Nation, and The New York Times Magazine. She lives in Brooklyn with her family.
Leslye Walton says that The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender began as a short story that came to her while listening to a song. She has an MA in writing, and this is her first novel. Leslye Walton is a native of Tacoma, Washington, where she currently teaches middle school.
Una LaMarche is a writer, editor, and amateur Melrose Place historian who lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband, her young son, and her hoard of vintage Sassy magazines. In addition to writing young adult fiction, Una is currently a columnist for The New York Observer and contributes to The Huffington Post and NickMom. Una also blogs at The Sassy Curmudgeon. Follow her on Twitter under the handle @sassycurmudgeon.
Winter Page is a freshman in high school. Born and raised in Texas, she has been an athlete her entire life–a figure skater, gymnast, competitive cheerleader, and belly dancer. She started writing after an injury forced her to stop sports. Her goal each year is to write something that makes her English teacher cry. She likes to listen to music, spend time with her friends, and of course, work on her latest novel.
Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of The White Rabbit Chronicles, Otherworld Assassins, Angels of the Dark and Lords of the Underworld series. She has written more than 40 novels and novellas. Her books have appeared in Cosmopolitan and Seventeen magazine and have been translated into multiple languages. Visit her at www.genashowalter.com.
Kwame Alexander is an award-winning children’s book author and poet. His most recent novel The Crossover has received five starred reviews. His Book-in-a-Day writing and publishing program for upper elementary, middle, and high school students has created more than 3000 student authors in sixty-five schools across the U.S., and in Canada and the Caribbean. Visit his website at www.bookinaday.org and follow him on Twitter (@kwamealexander).
Chris Lynch, a Boston native, is an award-winning author of several acclaimed young adult novels, including Freewill (2001), which won the Michael L. Printz Honor, and National Book Award finalist Inexcusable (2005). Lynch holds an MA from the writing program at Emerson College, and teaches in the creative writing MFA program at Lesley University. He mentors aspiring writers and continues to work on new literary projects while splitting time between Boston and Scotland.
International Authors/International Stories panel
Michael Williams is the author of the acclaimed novel, NOW IS THE TIME FOR RUNNING. His day jobs include: writing plays, musicals, operas and serving as the Managing Director of Cape Town Opera in South Africa. He began writing “radio plays” while studying at University of Cape Town and had his first novel published when he was twenty-five years old. He has written operas for young people based on African mythology as well as the libretti for symphonic operas that have premiered around the world. He finds writing fiction to be the perfect antidote to the drama of keeping an opera company alive in Africa.
Tanuja Desai Hidier is a writer/singer-songwriter born and raised in the USA and now based in London. Her first novel, Born Confused—the first-ever South Asian American coming-of-age story— was named an ALA BBYA book of the year, and was recently hailed by Entertainment Weekly and Rolling Stone as one of the best young adult novels of all time. Its long-anticipated sequel, Bombay Blues, deemed “a journey worth making” in a starred Kirkus review, comes out this summer, along with Bombay Spleen, her accompanying ‘booktrack’ album of original songs based on it. For more info, please visit www.ThisIsTanuja.com.
Kat Beyer is a fine artist and writer who lives in Madison, Wisconsin, with her daughter. She has an M.S. in medieval history and has loved all things Italian for as long as she can remember. Her first novel was The Demon Catchers of Milan. Visit her online at www.katspaw.com.
Elizabeth Stewart started her career as a television researcher and producer in Toronto, then made the switch to dramatic screenwriting when she moved to Vancouver, BC. Elizabeth continues to write for television and film, and is active in the screenwriting community as a mentor and instructor. Her first award-winning YA novel, The Lynching of Louie Sam was named a 2013 Notable Book for a Global Society. Her latest book with Annick Press is Blue Gold.
Graphic Novels panel
Swati Avasthi has been writing fiction since she read Little House in the Big Woods at age five. Emily Bronte, Harper Lee, and others furthered her addiction. She institutionalized her habit at the University of Chicago, where she received her B.A., and at the University of Minnesota, where received her M.F.A. Her writing has received numerous honors including a Minnesota State Arts Board Fellowship, the Thomas H. Shevlin Fellowship, Loft’s Mentor Series Award, and a nomination for the Pushcart Prize. She is a creative writing professor at Hamline University and lives in the Twin Cities with her two large-ish dogs, two small-ish kids, and one husband (though he is worth two).
Born in Hull, Quebec, Daniel Lafrance now lives in Toronto. Before becoming a professional storyboard artist, he worked as an animator on TV series, commercials, and feature films. His graphic novel War Brothers, based on the novel written by Sharon McKay, was nominated for the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards for Best Graphic Album. He is currently developing a graphic novel based on another YA novel by McKay, Thunder over Kandahar.
Beau Schemery resides in Central Pennsylvania, where he quietly tries to force six lives worth of living into one. He has been a self-published comic writer/illustrator, actor and playwright. He currently writes books for Harmony Ink Press as well as illustrating the covers. He is an avid reader, enjoys cooking, sewing and playing video games. He is a vocal advocate of LGBTQ rights and believes YA villains should be allowed to be bad.
Matt Smith is the author/illustrator of Barbarian Lord. He drew his first Conan the Barbarian adventure when was eight years old. A children’s book illustrator fascinated by traditional lore and comic-book heroes, Matt lives with his wife and their dog in Lexington, Massachusetts. Visit his website at www.barbarianlord.com, find Barbarian Lord on Facebook, or follow him on Twitter (@barbarianlord).
Tag Team! Author Collaborations panel
Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant edited the acclaimed anthology Steampunk! They also started a zine, founded an independent publishing house, own two letterpresses, and edited the fantasy half of The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror for five years. Kelly Link is the author of three acclaimed short story collections, and her award-winning stories have appeared in many anthologies. Gavin J. Grant has published numerous articles and short stories. They live in Northampton, Massachusetts, with their daughter, Ursula.
Christine Johnson grew up in, moved away from, and finally came home to Indianapolis, Indiana. While she was in the “away” part of that adventure, she lived in Chicago, Illinois, where she attended DePaul University and majored in Political Science. She now lives in an old house in an old neighborhood with her kids and way too many books. Find her on the web at http://www.christinejohnsonbooks.com/ and on Twitter @cjohnsonbooks.
Julie Kagawa is the New York Times, USA TODAY, and internationally bestselling author of the Iron Fey and Blood of Eden series. Her debut novel, The Iron King, appeared on the YALSA Teens’ Top Ten List and won the RITA Award for Young Adult Romance. Born in Sacramento, she has been a bookseller and an animal trainer, and enjoys reading, painting, playing in her garden, and training in martial arts. She lives near Louisville, Kentucky, with her husband and a plethora of pets. Visit her at www.JulieKagawa.com or follow her on Twitter: @JKagawa
Lex Thomas is the pen name used by the screenwriting team of Lex Hrabe and Thomas Voorhies. Their first book, Quarantine Book One: The Loners, was a Booklist 2012 Editors’ Choice. Lex Hrabe was a Drama Geek in high school as well as student body president. Lex received a BA in Drama and English from the University of Virginia and has worn hats as an actor, director, and writer. In addition to working as a screenwriter, he heads development at Cinespire Entertainment, a boutique production company.
If Thomas Voorhies were a character in the Quarantine trilogy, he would be a member of the Art Geek gang. Thomas graduated with a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and continues to practice and exhibit his realist oil paintings. To see a selection of his artwork, visit www.thomasvoorhies.com.
Kiersten White is the New York Times bestselling author of numerous novels for young adults. She lives with her family near the ocean in San Diego. While she spends most of her time in the sun, she still courts the occasional shadow. Visit her online at www.kierstenwhite.com.
Jim Di Bartolo is a mixed media illustrator, painter, and visual storyteller. In his freelance career he has illustrated novels, comic books, and role-playing games. He and his wife, the author Laini Taylor, have collaborated on several books, and their most recent joint effort, Lips Touch: Three Times, was a National Book Award finalist. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife and their daughter, and he can be found online at www.jimdibartolo.com.