Participating Authors


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Opening Session

Kwame Alexander is a poet, speaker, educator, and New York Times bestselling author of twenty-four books, including The Crossover, which received the 2015 John Newbery Medal for the Most Distinguished Contribution to American Literature for Children. His other works include the novels He Said, She Said and Booked, as well as his nonfiction debut, The Playbook: 52 Rules to Aim, Shoot, and Score in This Game Called Life. He is the cofounder of LEAP for Ghana, an international literacy program. Visit him at KwameAlexander.com.

James L. Swanson is the award-winning author of the bestseller Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer. His other books include Chasing Lincoln's Killer, an adaptation of Manhunt for young adults, and his follow-up, "The President Has Been Shot!: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy", which was a finalist for the YALSA-ALA Excellence in Young Adult Nonfiction award. His book Chasing King’s Killer comes out January 2018. He has held a number of government and think-tank posts in Washington, D.C.

Paolo Bacigalupi is also the author of the Edgar Awards nominee The Doubt Factory; a novel for younger readers, Zombie Baseball Beatdown; and two bestselling adult novels for adults, The Water Knife and The Windup Girl. His first work of collected short fiction was Pump Six and Other Stories. Thewinner of the Hugo, Nebula, Locus, Compton Crook, John W. Campbell Memorial, and Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Awards, he lives in western Colorado with his wife and son.

Nina LaCour is the author of the widely acclaimed Hold Still, The Disenchantments, and Everything Leads to You. She is also the coauthor, with David Levithan of You Know Me Well. Formerly a bookseller and high school English teacher, she now writes and parents full time. A San Francisco Bay Area native, Nina lives with her family in Martinez, California. www.ninalacour.com

Best Fiction for Young Adults Luncheon

Barry Lyga is the author of fourteen novels in various genres, including the New York Times bestselling I Hunt Killers series and his debut, The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl. Barry lives and writes in New York City. 

Holly Black is the author of bestselling contemporary fantasy books for kids and teens. Some of her titles include The Spiderwick Chronicles (with Tony DiTerlizzi), The Modern Faerie Tale series, the Curse Workers series, Doll Bones, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, the Magisterium series (with Cassandra Clare) and The Darkest Part of the Forest. She has been a a finalist for an Eisner Award, and the recipient of the Andre Norton Award, the Mythopoeic Award and a Newbery Honor. She currently lives in New England with her husband and son in a house with a secret door. 

Stephanie Kuehn is the critically acclaimed author of four young adult novels, including Charm & Strange, which won the ALA’s William C. Morris Award for best debut novel. Booklist has praised her work as “Intelligent, compulsively readable literary fiction with a dark twist.” She lives in Northern California and is a post-doctoral fellow in clinical psychology.

Jenn Bennett is an artist and RITA-nominated author of the Arcadia Bell urban fantasy series; the Roaring Twenties romance series, including Bitter Spirits, which was chosen as one of Publishers Weekly’s Best Books of 2014 and winner of RT Reviewers’ Choice Paranormal Romance Book of the Year; and Grave Phantoms, which was awarded RT’s May Seal of Excellence for 2015. She is also the author of The Anatomical Shape of a Heart (a.k.a. Night Owls in the UK); Alex, Approximately; and Starry Eyes. She lives near Atlanta with one husband and two evil pugs.

Anna-Marie McLemore was born in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains and grew up in a Mexican-American family. She attended University of Southern California on a Trustee Scholarship. A Lambda Literary Fellow, she has had work featured by the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West, CRATE Literary Magazine’s cratelit, Camera Obscura’s Bridge the Gap Series, and The Portland Review. She is the author of The Weight of Feathers, which was a Morris Award finalist, and When the Moon was Ours, a 2017 Stonewall Honor book.

William C. Morris Author Forum

Nidhi Chanani was born in Kolkata, India, and raised in Southern California. She holds a degree in literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She creates illustrations that capture the love in everyday moments. In 2012 she was honored at the White House as a Champion of Change for her art. Her illustrations are sold in boutiques along the West Coast and she's worked with companies like Disney and Hasbro. Nidhi lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband, daughter, and two cats. Pashmina is her first graphic novel.

McCall Hoyle writes honest YA novels about friendship, first love, and girls finding the strength to overcome great challenges. She is a high school English teacher. Her own less-than-perfect teenage experiences and those of the girls she teaches inspire many of the struggles in her books. When she’s not reading or writing, she’s spending time with her family and their odd assortment of pets—a food-obsessed beagle, a grumpy rescue cat, and a three-and-a-half-legged kitten. She has an English degree from Columbia College and a master’s degree from Georgia State University. She lives in a cottage in the woods in North Georgia where she reads and writes every day. Learn more at mcallhoyle.com.

Laurie Forest lives deep in the backwoods of Vermont, where she sits in front of a wood stove drinking strong tea and dreaming up tales full of dryads, dragons and wands. THE BLACK WITCH is her first novel and WANDFASTED (prequel to THE BLACK WITCH) is her first ebook novella. Enter her realm at www.laurieannforest.com

Dave Connis writes words you can sing and words you can read. He lives in Chattanooga, TN with his wife, Clara and a dog that barks at non-existent threats. When he's not writing YA or MG, he's probably working really strange part-time jobs, and doing other things that actually give his family the ability to eat food. He's a member of the Jedi Counsel, and he has a propensity to daydream when ever he attempts to be an adult.

Kheryn Callender was born and raised on St. Thomas of the US Virgin Islands. Kheryn holds a BA from Sarah Lawrence College, where they studied fine arts, Japanese, and creative writing, as well as an MFA from The New School’s Writing for Children program. Hurricane Child marks their debut novel.

Kelly Loy Gilbert is the author of Conviction(Disney-Hyperion, 2014). Gilbert’s work has appeared in the San Jose Mercury News,Shrapnel, and The Kenyon Review, where it was designated a resource for teachers. She’s led fiction workshops at UC San Diego and San Francisco State and developed a creative-writing program for teen writers, and is a visiting speaker in local classrooms. She was also recently named a Peninsula Literary Writer, a San Francisco Bay Area organization dedicated to fostering and encouraging the writing community.

Book Blitz

Jenn Bennett is signing  STARRY EYES 

In this romantic dramedy from the author of Alex, Approximately, a teen girl’s way-too-ordinary life is driven off the beaten path when she’s abandoned in the wilderness with her worst adversary—the boy who broke her heart.

Nidhi Chanani is signing  Pashmina

Priyanka Das has so many unanswered questions: Why did her mother abandon her home in India years ago? What was it like there? And most importantly, who is her father, and why did her mom leave him behind? But Pri’s mom avoids these questions—the topic of India is permanently closed.

For Pri, her mother's homeland can only exist in her imagination. That is, until she find a mysterious pashmina tucked away in a forgotten suitcase. When she wraps herself in it, she is transported to a place more vivid and colorful than any guidebook or Bollywood film. But is this the real India? And what is that shadow lurking in the background? To learn the truth, Pri must travel farther than she’s ever dared and find the family she never knew.

In this heartwarming graphic novel debut, Nidhi Chanani weaves a tale about the hardship and self-discovery that is born from juggling two cultures and two worlds.

Dave Connis is signing  The Temptation of Adam

Adam Hawthorne is fine. Yeah, his mother left, his older sister went with her, and his dad would rather read Nicholas Sparks novels than talk to him. And yeah, he spends his nights watching self-curated porn video playlists. But Adam is fine. When a family friend discovers Adam’s porn addiction, he’s forced to join an addiction support group: the self-proclaimed Knights of Vice. He goes because he has to, but the honesty of the Knights starts to slip past his defenses. Combine that with his sister’s out-of-the-blue return and the attention of a girl he meets in an AA meeting, and all the work Adam has put into being fine begins to unravel. Now Adam has to face the causes and effects of his addiction, before he loses his new friends, his prodigal sister, and his almost semi-sort-of girlfriend.

Laurie Forest is signing  The Black Witch

Elloren Gardner is the granddaughter and absolute spitting image of the late Black Witch, the most powerful mage her people, the Gardnerians, have ever known. Yet while everyone she meets expects her to live up to Carnissa Gardner’s formidable legacy, Elloren is utterly devoid of power in a society that prizes magical ability above nearly all else.

When she is granted the opportunity to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming an apothecary, Elloren joins her brothers at the prestigious Verpax University to embrace a destiny of her own, free from the shadow of her grandmother's legacy. But she soon realizes that the university, which admits all manner of people-including the fire-wielding, winged Icarals, the sworn enemies of all Gardnerians-is a treacherous place for the granddaughter of the Black Witch.

As evil looms on the horizon and the pressure to live up to her heritage builds, everything Elloren thought she knew will be challenged and torn away. Her best hope of survival may be among the most unlikely band of misfits…if only she can find the courage to trust those she's been taught to hate and fear.

Chantel Guertin is signing The Rules of Thirds

Sixteen-year-old Pippa Greene never goes anywhere without her camera. She and her best friend/supermodel-in-training Dace long ago mapped out their life plan: Pippa will be the noted fashion photographer, and Dace the cover girl. But ever since last spring, things have changed for Pippa―and her junior year at Spalding High proves to have its own set of challenges. Not only is Vantage Point, the statewide photography competition, in three short weeks, but her mandatory volunteering placement lands her at St. Christopher’s Hospital, a place Pippa never wanted to set foot in again. With humor and pluck, she navigates her new role as a candy striper (watch out for Code Yellows), her changing relationship with her best friend (goodbye, Honesty Pact), and―perhaps most stressful of all―her new love interests (yes, love interests plural).

Will Pippa make it to Vantage Point without having a panic attack? Will either one of the guys prove less sketchy than her last boyfriend? Can she and Dace figure out a way to dream big and be best friends? One thing is certain: real life is a lot more complicated than a photograph.

McCall Hoyle is signing  The Thing with Feathers

Emilie Day believes in playing it safe: she’s homeschooled, her best friend is her seizure dog, and she’s probably the only girl on the Outer Banks of North Carolina who can’t swim.

Then Emilie’s mom enrolls her in public school, and Emilie goes from studying at home in her pj’s to halls full of strangers. To make matters worse, Emilie is paired with starting point guard Chatham York for a major research project on Emily Dickinson. She should be ecstatic when Chatham shows interest, but she has a problem. She hasn’t told anyone about her epilepsy.

Emilie lives in fear her recently adjusted meds will fail and she’ll seize at school. Eventually, the worst happens, and she must decide whether to withdraw to safety or follow a dead poet’s advice and “dwell in possibility.”

From Golden Heart award-winning author McCall Hoyle comes The Thing with Feathers, a story of overcoming fears, forging new friendships, and finding a first love, perfect for fans of Jennifer Niven, Robyn Schneider, and Sharon M. Draper.

Donovan Mixon is signing  AhGottaHandleOnIt

Tim, already two years behind in a Newark inner-city high school, will be a sophomore again if he doesn’t pass the English proficiency exam. He’s got good street cred, riffing strange rap-rhymes and running like the wind. Maria, a girl in his class, catches his eye, but he’s still thinking about his ex, Rene. At home, he’s packed into a 3-flat with his mom, sister and Uncle Gentrale. His father, a drunk, recently walked out on the family, wanting some “freedom.” He tells Tim, “Ahgottahandleonit.” He doesn’t. Nor does Tim. The last day of school before summer, in front of his classmates, Tim insults Mr. Jones, the one teacher who has wanted to help. Tim doesn’t know why he did this. It was just always there, a rage born of some dark history, one his dad cannot explain. His uncle tries though––it’s about some crazy stuff going down when he and Tim’s dad were young, living on the farm. In a fight with some gangbangers, Tim’s rage boils over. He ends up slamming Chucky’s head with a rock. He steals his phone and carries it, like an albatross, throughout the summer. He wants to run, to hide, to get revenge, to be free. Maybe Mr. Jones will understand? Tim wants his life to matter.

Julie Kagawa is signing Legion

From the limitless imagination of New York Times bestselling author Julie Kagawa comes the fiery second installment of The Talon Saga, which concludes in April 2018 with the forthcoming, hugely anticipated finale, Inferno.

Melissa Landers is signing Starflight

When a twist of fate lands orphanage-raised Solara and rich boy Doran aboard a renegade spaceship, hate turns to love. This action-packed story set in space is fresh, fun, and romantic.

Katie McGarry is signing  Say You’ll Remember Me

A new book from romance fan-favorite Katie McGarry following Drix and Elle, who come from different backgrounds and different worlds, as they try to find what connects them and break past the odds to, maybe, be together while finding their own independence from their pasts and their families' expectations.

Anna-Marie McLemore is signing  Wild Beauty

For nearly a century, the Nomeolvides women have tended the grounds of La Pradera, the lush estate gardens that enchant guests from around the world. They’ve also hidden a tragic legacy: if they fall in love too deeply, their lovers vanish. But then, after generations of vanishings, a strange boy appears in the gardens.

The boy is a mystery to Estrella, the Nomeolvides girl who finds him, and to her family, but he’s even more a mystery to himself; he knows nothing more about who he is or where he came from than his first name. As Estrella tries to help Fel piece together his unknown past, La Pradera leads them to secrets as dangerous as they are magical in this stunning exploration of love, loss, and family.

Mike Mullin is signing  Surface Tension

After witnessing an act of domestic terrorism while training on his bike, Jake is found near death, with a serious head injury and unable to remember the plane crash or the aftermath that landed him in the hospital. A terrorist leader’s teenage daughter, Betsy, is sent to kill Jake and eliminate him as a possible witness. When Jake’s mother blames his head injury for his tales of attempted murder, he has to rely on his girlfriend, Laurissa, to help him escape the killers and the law enforcement agents convinced that Jake himself had a role in the crash.

Emily X. R. Pan is signing  The Astonishing Color of After 

Leigh Chen Sanders is absolutely certain about one thing: When her mother died by suicide, she turned into a bird.

Leigh, who is half Asian and half white, travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time. There, she is determined to find her mother, the bird. In her search, she winds up chasing after ghosts, uncovering family secrets, and forging a new relationship with her grandparents. And as she grieves, she must try to reconcile the fact that on the same day she kissed her best friend and longtime secret crush, Axel, her mother was taking her own life.

Alternating between real and magic, past and present, friendship and romance, hope and despair, The Astonishing Color of After is a stunning and heartbreaking novel about finding oneself through family history, art, grief, and love.

Sarah J. Schmitt is signing  It's A Wonderful Death

While she waits for the decision of the Tribunal charged with determining whether her life is worth rewinding the hands of time, RJ wanders through the afterlife where she meets several colorful characters including the Cornhole-playing St. Peter and Al, the handler for the 3-headed Hound that guards the gates to Hell. Finally, the Tribunal present her with two options: she can remain in the Lobby, where souls wait to be processed, until her original lifeline expires or replay three moments in her life in an effort to make choices that will produce a future deemed worthy of being saved. It sounds like a no brainer. She’ll take the walk down memory lane. How hard can changing her future be?

But with each moment, RJ's life begins to unravel until this self-proclaimed Queen Bee is a social pariah. She begins to wonder if walking among the living is worth it if she has to spend the next sixty years as an outcast.

Kristen Simmons is signing  Metaltown