More than 20 Young Adult authors from across the country will join hundreds of readers in the state’s Territorial Capitol on Saturday, October 28 for the inaugural Oklahoma Teen Book Con.
The Scottish Rite Temple of Guthrie, the largest Masonic center in the world, will serve as the venue for the day, which begins with a 10:00 a.m. keynote from Maggie Stiefvater, New York Times bestselling author of the Shiver trilogy, The Scorpio Races, and The Raven Boys Cycle series.
Stiefvater will be joined by Ryan Graudin, winner of the Oklahoma Library Association’s Sequoyah Book Award for Wolf by Wolf, for the final session of the day to discuss what YA literature means to the authors who pen it.
In between participants can attend sessions on YA romance, fantasy, and mystery. An Author Meetup will work like “speed dating” with authors rotating around the room to talk to different groups.
Oklahoma YA authors Sonia Gensler and Tara Hudson will be teaching writing workshops to winners of a previously held writing contest.
A grand book sale and book signing with all the authors will be held from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. to close the event.
The Teen Book Con is free, but individuals are encouraged to visit oktbc.org to reserve a ticket. Visitors to the website will also find a complete program, biographies of the 22 national and Oklahoma authors who will appear, answers to FAQs, and information on Teen Artist Alley, which will display artwork from Oklahoma students. Lunch will be available for only five dollars.
Young Adult literature is the fastest growing market for book publishing, and it attracts readers of all ages according to Adrienne Butler, chair of the Con’s organizing committee, and Youth Services consultant at the Oklahoma Department of Libraries.
“We’re really in a golden age of YA literature,” Butler says. “We keep reminding people that Oklahoma is one of the birth places of modern Young Adult novels. It was a Tulsa high school student named S.E. Hinton who changed the game with her 1967 novel The Outsiders.”
While many YA novels adopted the realistic style of Hinton’s work, others embraced a host of genres including science fiction, fantasy, romance, and mystery. The one thing they have in common is their popularity.
“YA novels regularly make the bestseller lists these days,” Butler said. “Many of these books transcend the page and have become a major part of popular culture. Think of movies like The Hunger Games and Divergent, or television series like The 100.
The event is attracting authors from across America, including Kathleen Baldwin, Peter Bognanni, Julie Buxbaum, P.J. Hoover, Samantha Mabry, Adriana Mather, Jared Reck, Scott Reintgen, Kristen Simmons, Wendy Spinale, Jessica Taylor, and Kara Thomas.
In addition to Gensler and Hudson, other Oklahoma authors attending are Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Ally Carter, Roy Deering, Julie Dill, Jennifer Latham, and Rachel Vincent.
Sponsors of the Oklahoma Teen Book Con are Best of Books, Eastern Oklahoma District Library System, Friends of the Oklahoma Center for the Book, Guthrie Public Library, Harper Collins, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Oklahoma Department of Libraries, Penguin Teen, Pioneer Library System, RoadRunner Press, Tulsa City-County Library System, Vance Insurance Group, and Yukon’s Mabel C. Fry Public Library.
Assistance is also being provided by Molly Dettmann, Almond and Paul Eastland, Friends of the Guthrie Public Library, John Vance Motors, Oklahoma City Abstract and Title Company, Michael Salem, Rebecca and Billie Spence, and Leah Weyand and Trea Kilby.
For additional information, and the complete schedule, visit oktbc.org.