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The 2022 Authors will be continued to be updated! Listed below are the authors to be showcased at this year's Symposium.
Margaret A. Edwards Award Recipient
A.S. King has been called “One of the best Y.A. writers working today” by the New York Times Book Review King is the author of highly-acclaimed novels including 2021's SW/TCH, 2020 Michael L. Printz Award winner and LA Times Book Prize finalist DIG, 2016's Still Life with Tornado, 2015’s surrealist I Crawl Through It, Glory O'Brien's History of the Future, Reality Boy, the 2012 Los Angeles Times Book Prize winner Ask the Passengers, Everybody Sees the Ants, 2011 Michael L. Printz Honor Book Please Ignore Vera Dietz among others. She also writes Middle Grade fiction as Amy Sarig King, including Attack of the Black Rectangles. In 2022, King received the Margaret A. Edwards Award for her significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature.
She is a faculty member of the Writing for Children and Young Adults MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Arts and spends many months of the year traveling the country speaking to high school and university students, educators, and humans who care about the mental health of young people. After a decade living self-sufficiently and teaching literacy to adults in Ireland, she now lives in Pennsylvania.
Opening Session Author Panel: In the Shadow of Poe: Dark Fantasy & Mystery
Alex Aster is an author of YA fiction as well as award-winning middle grade fiction, including the Emblem Island series, which was published to critical acclaim. Alex graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania, where she studied creative writing. Find out more on TikTok (@alex.aster) or Instagram (@byalexaster).
Leigh Bardugo is the New York Times-bestselling author of Ninth House and the creator of the Grishaverse (coming to Netflix in April 2021) which spans the Shadow and Bone trilogy, the Six of Crows duology, the King of Scars duology, The Language of Thorns, and The Lives of Saints— with more to come. Her short stories can be found in multiple anthologies, including Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy. Leigh grew up in Southern California and graduated from Yale University. These days she lives and writes in Los Angeles.
Lamar Giles is the author of The Getaway; Spin which was a New York Times Editors' Choice and a YALSA Quick Pick; Overturned, which was also a YALSA Quick Pick; Not So Pure and Simple; Fake ID, which was an Edgar Award finalist and a YALSA Quick Pick; and Endangered, which was also an Edgar Award finalist. He the editor of the anthology Fresh Ink and has contributed to many other anthologies as well. Lamar is a founding member of We Need Diverse Books. He resides in Virginia with his family.
Dani Pendergast is a cartoonist and illustrator from Parkland, Florida, with a BFA and MFA from the Illustration program at Syracuse University. She’s done work for Apple, Boom! Studios, Mondo Tees, and Wizards of the Coast, among others. She is the illustrator of Leigh Bardugo's Demon in the Wood Graphic Novel. She is currently based in Boston, Massachusetts.
Aiden Thomas is a trans, Latinx, New York Times Bestselling Author with an MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College. Their works include Cemetery Boys and Lost in the Never Woods. Originally from Oakland, California, they now make their home in Portland, OR. Aiden is notorious for not being able to guess the endings of books and movies, and organizes their bookshelves by color.
Reimagine the Canon
Francesca Flores is a writer, traveler and linguist. Raised in Pittsburgh, she read every fantasy book she could get her hands on and started writing her own stories at a young age. When she's not writing or reading, Francesca enjoys traveling, dancing ballet and jazz, practicing trapeze and contortion, and visiting parks and trails around San Francisco, where she currently resides.
Lillie Lainoff is the author of One for All, and received her B.A. in English from Yale University, where she was a varsity fencer and one of the first physically disabled athletes to individually qualify for any NCAA Championship event. She has also won the 2019 LA Review Literary Award for Short Fiction, was a featured Rooted in Rights disability activist, and is the founder of Disabled Kidlit Writers on Facebook. She is currently an MA candidate in Creative Writing Prose Fiction at the University of East Anglia, and lives in Washington, D.C.
Anna-Marie McLemore was born in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains and taught by their family to hear la llorona in the Santa Ana winds. They are the author of The Weight of Feathers, Wild Beauty, Blanca & Roja, Dark and Deepest Red, The Mirror Season, Lakelore, and Self-Made Boys: A Great Gatsby Remix, which was also just longlisted for the 2022 National Book Award in Young Adult Literature. Their books include two previous titles longlisted for the National Book Award and recognition from both the William C. Morris Debut Award and Stonewall Book Award.
Axie Oh is a first-generation Korean American, born in New York City and raised in New Jersey. She studied Korean history and creative writing as an undergrad at the University of California San Diego and holds an MFA in Writing for Young People from Lesley University. Her passions include K-pop, anime, stationery supplies, and milk tea, and she currently resides in Las Vegas, Nevada, with her dog, Toro (named after Totoro). She is the author of multiple books for teens, including The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea.
William C. Morris Author Panel
Kyrie McCauley spent her childhood climbing tress in dresses and reading books during class. She is the author of If These Wings Could Fly, recipient of the 2021 William C. Morris Award, We Can Be Heroes and the forthcoming All the Dead Lie Down. Kyrie holds a Master of Science in Social Policy from the University of Pennsylvania and has worked in advocacy and development for non-profit organizations. She lives near Philadelphia, PA with her family, three rescue cats and a dog that eats books and is never sorry.
Camille Gomera-Tavarez is an Afro-Dominican writer, designer, and creative from New Jersey. She has a BFA in Graphic Design & Creative Writing from the Maryland Institute College of Art and is currently based in Philadelphia, PA. Her debut, High Spirits, received three starred reviews and was hailed as “a magical and unflinching look at the Dominican Diaspora” by the Dominican Writers Association. She was recently named as a Publishers Weekly 2022 Flying Start.
Jas Hammonds was raised in many cities and in-between the pages of many books. They have received support for their writing from Lambda Literary, Sundress Academy of the Arts, and the Highlights Foundation. They are also a grateful recipient of a MacDowell James Baldwin Fellowship. We Deserve Monuments is their debut novel.
Francesca Padilla is a Dominican-American fiction writer born and raised in New York City. She is the recipient of a Walter Dean Myers Grant from We Need Diverse Books and holds a BA in Creative Writing from the State
University of New York at Purchase College. She lives with her family in Rochester, New York.
Vincent Tirado is a non-binary Afro-Latine Bronx native. They ventured out to Pennsylvania and Ohio to get their Bachelor's degree in Biology and Master's degree in Bioethics. They have had short stories published in Desert Rose Lit Mag and FIYAH! Magazine.
Closing Author Panel: Courageous Storytellers: Sharing Stories of Mental Health & Wellness / Mental Health
Nora Shalaway Carpenter is the author of The Edge of Anything, a Kirkus Reviews Best Young Adult Book of the Year and Bank Street College Best Children’s Book of the Year. She is the contributing editor of the acclaimed anthology Rural Voices: 15 Authors Challenge Assumptions About Small-Town America, which was named an NPR Best Book of the Year and a YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults selection, among numerous other honors. Nora Shalaway Carpenter lives in North Carolina.
Rocky Callen is the author of the YA novel A Breath Too Late, which was named a Kirkus Reviews Best Young Adult Book of the Year and a Chicago Public Library Best Book and was featured in The Mujerista’s 2020 list of the ten best young adult books by Latinx authors. A former behavioral coach and a passionate mental health advocate, she founded the HoldOn2Hope Project, which unites creatives in suicide prevention. Rocky Callen lives outside of Washington, DC.
Rex Ogle was born and raised mostly in Texas. He is the author of the memoirs FREE LUNCH, which won the 2020 YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Award, and PUNCHING BAG. A former children’s book editor in New York City, Rex and his partner now live in the Los Angeles area.
Erin Stewart grew up in Virginia and now makes her home in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains with her husband and their three children. Erin loves using her background in journalism to research and write fiction based on real life. A heart failure survivor and adoptive mother, she believes life throws plot twists and people in our path for a reason--always. She is the author of the acclaimed YA novel Scars Like Wings. Visit her at www.erinstewartbooks.com or on Twitter/Instagram @Erin_N_Stewart.
Ray Stoeve is the author of the young adult novel Between Perfect and Real, which was a 2021 Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection. They also contributed to the young adult anthology Take the Mic: Fictional Stories of Everyday Resistance. They received a 2016–2017 Made at Hugo House Fellowship and created the YA/MG Trans and Nonbinary Voices Masterlist, a database that tracks all books in those age categories written by trans authors about trans characters. When they’re not writing, they can be found gardening, making art in other mediums, or hiking their beloved Pacific Northwest.
Sabaa Tahir is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Ember in the Ashes series, which has been translated into over thirty-five languages. She grew up in California’s Mojave Desert at her family’s eighteen-room motel. There, she spent her time devouring fantasy novels, raiding her brother’s comic book stash, and playing guitar badly. She began writing books while working nights as a newspaper editor. She likes thunderous indie rock, garish socks, and all things nerd. Visit Sabaa online at SabaaTahir.com and follow her on Instagram @SabaaTahir.