2023 Participating Authors


Introducing you to the authors that will be showcased for 2023 Symposium.

The 2023 authors will be continued to be updated. Additional authors to be confirmed.

Margaret A. Edwards Award Recipient

jason-reynolds-credit_dayo-kosoko-_custom-bd0a523ad36591ae35490017c11a8b11040dd2cd-s1600-c85_0Jason Reynolds is the recipient of the 2023 Margaret A. Edwards Award honoring his significant and lasting contribution to writing for teens for “When I was the Greatest,” “The Boy in the Black Suit,” “All American Boys,” “Ghost” and “Long Way Down.” The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), announced the award today during the ALA’s LibLearnX: The Library Learning Experience held Jan. 27-30, in New Orleans. In his writing, Jason Reynolds presents teens with authentic mirrors and windows to the world. Each of Reynolds’ books creates opportunities for discussion and reflection among teens.

Opening Session Author Panel: Meet Cute in St. Louis: Rom-Coms for Today’s Teens

Edward%20UnderhillEdward Underhill (he/him) is a queer trans man who grew up in the suburbs of Wisconsin. He began writing (very bad) stories as a kid and wrote his first (also very bad) novel in his teens. In college, he earned a master’s degree in film music composition. After a few years living in tiny apartments in New York, he moved to California, where by day he writes music and by night he writes stories, which aren’t as bad as they used to be. When not doing either of these things, he’s probably gardening or hanging out with his cat. He is the author of Always the Almost.

Lynn%20PainterLynn Painter writes romantic comedies for both teens and adults. She is the author of Better Than the Movies, Mr. Wrong Number, The Do-Over, and Betting on You, as well as being a regular contributor to the Omaha World-Herald. She lives in Nebraska with her husband and pack of wild children, and when she isn’t reading or writing, odds are good she’s guzzling energy drinks and watching rom-coms. You can find her at LynnPainter.com, on Instagram @LynnPainterKirkle, or on Twitter @LAPainter.

028EAF56-4254-49B5-9297-E53414C36980_4_5005_cMason Deaver is born and raised in a small town in North Carolina, an award-nominated, bestselling author and designer living in Charlotte. Their debut novel, I Wish You All the Best, was named a Junior Library Guild Selection and an NPR Concierge Book. Besides writing, they're an active fan of horror movies and video games. You can find them online at masondeaverwrites.com.

Maldonado%20Headshot%201Crystal Maldonado is a young adult author with a lot of feelings. She is the author of romcoms for fat, brown girls. By day, Crystal works in higher ed marketing, and by night, she’s a writer who loves Beyoncé, glitter, shopping, and spending too much time on her phone. Her work has been published in Latina, BuzzFeed, and the Hartford Courant. She lives in western Massachusetts with her husband, daughter, and dog. Follow her everywhere @crystalwrote.

200092264_0Alexene Farol Follmuth is the author of the young adult rom-coms My Mechanical Romance and Twelfth Knight. As Olivie Blake, she is the New York Times bestselling author of The Atlas Six, Alone with You in the Ether, One for My Enemy, and Masters of Death. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, goblin prince/toddler, and rescue pit bull.

Kasie%20West%20credit%20Stephanie%20Ryan%20PhotographyKasie West is the author of many YA novels, including Places We've Never Been, Sunkissed, The Fill-in Boyfriend, P.S. I Like You, Lucky in Love, and Listen to Your Heart. Her books have been named ALA-YALSA Quick Picks, JLG selections, and ALA-YALSA Best Books for Young Adults. When she's not writing, she's binge-watching television, devouring books, or road-tripping to new places. Kasie lives in Fresno, California, with her family.

William C. Morris Author Panel

Terry%20J.%20Benton-WalkerTerry J. Benton-Walker grew up in rural Georgia and now lives in Atlanta with his husband and son, where he writes fiction for adults, young adults, and children. He has an Industrial Engineering degree from Georgia Tech and an MBA from Georgia State. When he’s not writing, he can be found gaming, eating ice cream, or both. Connect with Terry on Twitter at @tjbentonwalker, Instagram at icecreamvicelord, or at tjbentonwalker.com. Blood Debts is his first novel.

Ari%20Tison%20%281%29Ari Tison is a Bribri (Indigenous Costa Rican) American and African descended poet and storyteller. Her poems and short works have been published in Yellow Medicine Review, The Under Review, Rock & Sling, and POETRY's first ever edition for children. She was the winner of the 2018 Vaunda Micheaux Nelson award for a BIPOC writer with Lerner Publishing. She currently is the annual broadside editor for Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop where she gets to collaborate with the Minnesota Center for the Book Arts to bring incarcerated voices into the world. Saints of the Household is her debut novel.

Dale%20WallsDale Walls (they/them) is a Black queer culture writer, curator, and art historian based in San Francisco. They are currently pursuing an art history PhD and are a Knight-Hennesy Scholar at Stanford University. Dale has written for Teen Vogue, Artsy, and Google Arts and Culture and is a 2022 Lambda Literary Fellow. The Queer Girl Is Going To Be Okay is their debut novel. They identify as queer non-binary.

Erebia_FedericoFederico Erebia is a retired physician, woodworker, author, and illustrator. Pedro & Daniel (Levine Querido, June 2023) is his debut novel. He serves on the SCBWI Impact & Legacy Fund Steering Committee, and is a member of several writing groups. He enjoys the intersections of his neurodivergent, gay, and Latino identities. He lives in Massachusetts with his husband and their furry bubbies.

Jamie%20Jo%20Hoang_Photo%20Credit%20Ryan%20Eslinger%20%281%29Jamie Jo Hoang, the daughter of Vietnamese refugees, grew up in Orange County, CA—not the wealthy part. She worked for MGM Studios and later, as a docu-series producer. Now she writes novels and blogs full time. When Jamie’s not writing, she’s wandering, pondering, and chasing experiences. Her self-published first novel, Blue Sun, Yellow Sky, is a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year.

Using Graphic Memoir to Connect with Teens Session

Deb%20JJ%20Lee%201Deb JJ Lee is a Korean American artist currently living in Brooklyn, NY. They have appeared in the New Yorker, Washington Post, NPR, Google, Radiolab, PBS, and more. Books they have illustrated include The Invisible Boy by Alyssa Hollingsworth and The Other Side of Tomorrow by Tina Cho. They enjoy reality tv, sparkling water, and pretending to be an extrovert.

Sarah%20MyerSarah Myer is a comic artist and illustrator hailing from a ten-acre farm in White Hall, Maryland. An old-school cosplayer and anime fan, Sarah has attended anime/comic conventions as a fan and artist alley participant since 1999 and has constructed and worn more than fifty costumes. They graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design with BFA and MFA degrees in sequential art and taught foundation studies classes at the college for three years. They are the author of Monstrous: A Transracial Adoption Story, which debuted this year.

Thien%20PhamThien Pham is a graphic novelist, comic artist, and educator based in Oakland, CA. He is the author and illustrator of the graphic novel Sumo and did the art for the middle-grade graphic novel Level Up, written by Gene Luen Yang, and is an ongoing comic contributor to Eater SF. Currently Pham is working on his next graphic novel, teaching, and eating. A lot. Follow Thien on Instagram @thiendog.

Victoria%20YingVictoria Ying is an author and artist living in Los Angeles. She started her career in the arts by falling in love with comic books, which eventually turned into a career working in animation and graphic novels. She loves Japanese curry, putting things in her shopping cart online and taking them out again, and hanging out with her dopey dog. Her film credits include Frozen, Moana, Tangled, Wreck-It Ralph, Big Hero 6, and Paperman. She is the illustrator of the DC Comics graphic novel Diana: Princess of the Amazons and the author and illustrator of her original graphic novels City of Secrets and Hungry Ghost.

Closing Session Moderator: Ellen Oh

Ellen%20Oh%20Photo%20Credit%20Susie%20James%20PhotographyEllen Oh is a founding member of We Need Diverse Books and an award-winning author of numerous middle-grade novels and the YA Prophecy trilogy. She has edited and contributed to You Are Here: Connecting Flights; Flying Lessons and Other Stories; and A Thousand Beginnings and Endings. Ellen is a former lawyer who loves K-pop, K-dramas, and cooking shows, but her favorite thing to do is to try new places to eat good food. A Gen Xer who grew up with MTV, Ellen credits A-ha's iconic Take On Me video as the inspiration for Colliding Worlds. Originally from New York City, Ellen lives in Rockville, Maryland, with her husband, three human children, and two dog children, and has yet to satisfy her quest for a decent bagel.

Closing Session Author Panel: Gateway to Exploration: The Quest for Stories

200067060Margaret Owen was born and raised at the end of the Oregon Trail and has worked in everything from thrift stores to presidential campaigns. She is the author of the instant Indie Bestseller Little Thieves, which received five starred reviews and was a Kids' Indie next pick and YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults Selection. Her debut, The Merciful Crow duology, was an NPR Best Book of the Year, a Tor.com Best of the Year, and a YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults Selection.

Kelly%20Andrew_headshot%28high-res%29Kelly Andrew lost her hearing when she was four years old. She's been telling stories ever since. Kelly lives in New England with her husband, two daughters, and a persnickety Boston Terrier.

Sharon%20Cameron%20author%20photo%20by%20Rusty%20RussellSharon Cameron is the author of the international bestseller and Reese’s Book Club pick The Light in Hidden Places and the critically acclaimed thriller Bluebird. Her debut novel The Dark Unwinding was awarded the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators' Sue Alexander Award for Most Promising New Work and the SCBWI Crystal Kite Award and was named a YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults selection. Sharon is also the author of its sequel, A Spark Unseen; Rook, which was an Indiebound Indie Next List Top Ten selection, a YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults selection, and a Parents' Choice gold medalist; and The Forgetting, a #1 New York Times bestseller and an Indie Next Pick of the List selection, as well as its companion novel, The Knowing. She lives with her family in Nashville, Tennessee, and you can visit her online at sharoncameronbooks.com or follow her on Instagram at @sharoncameronbooks or on Twitter at @CameronSharonE.

Saraciea%20J.%20Fennell%20%281%29Saraciea J. Fennell (co-editor) is a Black Honduran American writer, founder of The Bronx is Reading, and creator of Honduran Garifuna Writers. She is also a book publicist who has worked with many award-winning and New York Times bestselling authors and the editor of the anthology Wild Tongues Can’t Be Tamed: 15 Voices from the Latinx Diaspora. She lives in the Bronx with her family.