YALSA Symposium 2014 - Highlights

As I sit here in my hotel in Austin, TX, I can't help but feel both satisfied and unsatisfied at the same time. The YALSA Symposium is simply too short, and I feel like I barely got to see all the people I was trying to. At the same time, it was a wonderful opportunity to finally get a bit more connected with YALSA, an organization I've been a member of for a while, though my work has been mostly peripheral where they are concerned. All that being said, I did manage to meet some incredible people and hang out with some good friends as well. Here are some of the highlights!

Lisa Yee and Jonathan Auxier are hilarious and some of the nicest people you could hope to run into in a strange city!

Jacqueline Woodson made me feel totally starstruck. And the same goes for Bruch Coville. I managed not to have a Judy Blume snot bubble incident this time, though, so I guess my suaveness is improving...

I had the opportunity to hear some amazing panels at the Symposium, too (it wasn't ALL about stalking awesome people)! There were panels on realism and writing about difficult topics such as sexual abuse, mental illness, gun violence, and much more. Other panels were on GenreQueering, Authenticity and Trans Representation, and one of the more unique ones, Keeping it Really Weird, which was not only about weird books, but was weird in and off itself: Jonathan Auxier sang his answers to the tune of Moon River, while Lisa Yee dressed as Holly Golightly, and Andrew Smith shared stories from his childhood.

Contemporary Realism in YA: Evan Roskos, Steph Kuehn, Kekla Magoon, Meg Medina, Melissa Kantor.
Keeping it Really Weird: Jonathan Auxier, Lisa Yee, Bruce Coville, Chris Barton, Andrew Smith, Kelly Milner Halls, Laurie Ann Thomson
Author Luncheon: Lauren Oliver, Julie Kagawa, Jennifer A Nielsen
If you know me or my research at all, you will understand how excited I was to meet Katie Rain Hill and Arin Andrews. Their memoirs are wonderful, and they are really amazing individuals. It was great not only to meet them, but to actually sit down with Arin over coffee and pick his brain. 

As was obligatory for a trip to Texas, I went out to have BBQ with the lovely Erika Jelinek (a blogger over at We Are Book Punks. If you don't know about them, check out their site!

And of course, what Literature Symposium would be complete without a hilarious closing lunch with a speech by R.L. Stine. Who knew the guy who writes so much freaky stuff could be so funny!?

In the end, it will be good to get home again, but I do wish I had a bit longer to hang out with such an awesome group of people. Can't wait for the next one!


  1. So great to meet you! Can't wait to read your disertation!

    1. So good to meet you, too! Can't wait to WRITE the dissertation!


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