Do you want to be the next Young Adult fiction sensation? Find out how award-winning YA novelists Francesca Lia Block, Lauren Strasnick and Robin Benway craft ground breaking novels that are beloved by readers of all ages. Join us for a lively conversation about how they create believable tales where teens grapple with difficult choices. You’ll get the inside scoop on their brainstorming process, how they tap into their inner teenager, and how to be a successful YA author.


Panelists: Francesca Lia Block, Lauren Strasnick, Robin Benway
Moderator: Antonio Sacre
Friday, April 26, 2013
8:00 – 9:30 p.m.


Francesca_Lia_BlockFrancesca Lia Block (author of the “Dangerous Angels” series) is renowned for her over 30 ground breaking novels—postmodern, magic-realist tales that transport readers through the harsh, gritty landscapes of contemporary life to transcendent realms of the senses where love is always our saving grace. Born in Los Angeles, where she still lives, Block’s work pulsates with the language and images of the city’s sprawling subculture. She has received numerous honors, including the Margaret A. Edwards Lifetime Achievement Award and the Phoenix Award, as well as citations from the American Library Association, The New York Times Book Review and the School Library Journal. Her work has been published around the world, translated into many languages.


LaurenStrasnickPhoto-Credit-Jade-ChangLauren Strasnick’s debut novel, “Nothing Like You” (Simon Pulse/S&S, 2009), was a RWA RITA award finalist in two categories, Best First Book and YA Romance. Her second novel, “Her and Me and You” (Simon Pulse/S&S, 2010), was a 2012 ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers. “Then You Were Gone” (Simon Pulse/S&S), Lauren’s third book, was published in January 2013. She holds a BS in Film and a Minor in Creative Writing from Emerson College and an MFA in Writing from California Institute of the Arts.


753097Robin Benway is the author of “Audrey, Wait!” (Penguin, 2009) and “The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May & June” (Penguin, 2010). Both books received starred reviews by Publisher’s Weekly. Her latest book “Also Known As” (Bloomsbury, 2013) has been described as “smart, laugh-out-loud funny, hugely entertaining” by Kirkus Online. RT Book Reviews says that “Benway’s three-dimensional characters leap off the page. She captures the trials and tribulations of growing up with wit and whimsy, humor and perception.” The sequel to “Also Known As” will be out in Winter 2014. Robin’s books have been translated into 16 languages. She attended college at both New York University and University of California at Los Angeles.


antonio-02Antonio Sacre is an award-winning storyteller, author, and solo performance artist. Abrams Books for Young Readers have published two of his picture books: “La Noche Buena, A Christmas Story” and “A Mango in the Hand, A Story Told Through Proverbs” (2011) which were both chosen for inclusion in the prestigious California Readers Book Collections for School Libraries. His retelling of the story “The Barking Mouse” was published as a picture book by Albert Whitman and Company in March 2003. Antonio’s new short story collection “My Name Is Cool” (Familius, 2013), humorous tales inspired by Antonio’s Cuban and Irish-American heritage, will be released this summer. “My Name Is Cool” is a multi-chapter read-aloud for children that both adults and children will love. As a storyteller, he has performed at the National Book Festival at the Library of Congress, the Kennedy Center, the National Storytelling Festival, and museums, schools, libraries, and festivals internationally. His stories have appeared in numerous magazines, journals, and on National Public Radio. His storytelling recordings have won numerous awards, including the American Library Association’s Notable Recipient Award, the Parent’s Choice Gold and Silver Awards, and the National Association of Parenting Publications Gold Award. As a solo performer, he has won a Best in Fringe Festival award for Excellence in acting, and a Best in Fringe Festival award for Excellence in Solo Performance At The New York City International Fringe Theater Festival. Antonio was also awarded an Ethnic and Folk Arts Fellowship from the Illinois Arts Council. Since 1994, he has led many teacher in-services and district-wide trainings, sharing his knowledge of drama, storytelling, and writing in student workshops nationwide. He earned a BA in English from Boston College and an MA in Theater Arts from Northwestern University.