The Young Authors Give Back Tour: Pittsburgh Edition

Today at Eleventh Stack we’re happy to feature a guest post from Gigi, a Teen Specialist at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh–Brookline. For additional coverage of this event, please visit our blog colleagues at CLPTeensburgh.

Calling all YA fans, new adults, teen dystopia connoisseurs, and anyone with a YA book on their laptop waiting to be published: the Young Authors Give Back tour is coming to Pittsburgh!

YAGBTour

Four newly-published YA authors are coming together on a national tour to teach free writers’ workshops to aspiring young authors while hosting book signings for YA fans of all ages. Erin Bowman, Susan Dennard, Sarah J. Maas, and Kat Zhang will be sharing their talents and advice at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh–Brookline on Thursday, June 6th. The Young Writers Workshop (ages 13-18) starts at 4:30 (click here to register!) and the all-ages book signing begins at 6:00 p.m.

So why do you want to come meet these authors and get your own signed copy? Because with the publication of their first novels, you have the chance to become one of the first fans! Nothing says clout like owning a signed first edition from the next J.K. Rowling, eh? Seriously, though, outliers aside, what are these authors writing about? Is it something you’d like? I’m glad you asked!

The Books

zhangWhat’s Left Of Me, Kat Zhang. It’s the cover on this one. Zhang explores the world of two souls in a single body. One is meant to fade away in childhood, but it doesn’t happen for this character. Told from the perspective of the not-yet-disappeared soul trapped inside a body she can’t control, her autonomous sister helps hide her because it is a crime to be a hybrid (“a house divided against itself cannot stand“). And where could she go if she could move again, if she should fall in love while gazing out of her body prison? It was a theme I thoroughly enjoyed and a story capable of grabbing my emotions, reminding me almost too vividly of certain separation scenes in Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass.

Something Strange and Deadly, Susan Dennard. So Philadelphia thinks they have zombies, eh? Well, I’ll give ‘em a chance to Dennardshow their stuff within a book like this! Dennard considers an alternate zombie history in 19th century Philly, illuminated by a corset-girdled heroine who joins ranks with the charming (even the ones who aren’t supposed to be) Spirit Hunters who wrangle the walking dead that rise at the whims of a deluded necromancer. This one reads like a movie, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you see related cemetery-stained cravats on the silver screen soon.

maasThrone of Glass, Sarah J. Maas. This is the only one I didn’t get a chance to read yet; however, reviews in general seem to be good, and I’m excited to see what the love triangle of a female assassin looks like because I hear it’s one of the better-developed ones in recent years. This book falls under the genre of high fantasy, which is also called epic fantasy, but since I find most fantasy epic, I’m going to call it epic-er fantasy. Follow this fierce lady as she fights her way through an assigned tournament to the death as the only way to win her freedom. There’s also a bit of murder in the book…I mean, besides the kill-everyone assassin stuff.

Taken, Erin Bowman. There are no men in this book…or so it begins. In Claysoot, any young man who turns 18 is taken by The BowmanHeist, a mysterious phenomenon wherein he simply vanishes. Imagine a place bereft of men, where dystopian young ladies are left to mourn and bear the children conceived through “slatings” organized and encouraged by the elders to perpetuate existence. “You grow up quickly in Claysoot,” says Gray Weathersby. Luckily, brothers are left behind to ask questions and a certain Gray uncovers a note from his mother that might lead to…well, the rest of the book. I felt this was a really strong showing for dystopian fiction. I bought the world; I’d buy the book. If only I didn’t have to wait, since, naturally, it’s a series.

Using examples from their books, the authors will be covering plot, world-building, characters, pacing, point of view, and–most importantly–industry: how do you get your book published once it’s done? During the open signing, come ask these authors all your brain-to-page publishing questions or do your pop-culture duty and pick up a signed copy for yourself, friends, and/or family, becoming a premier fan of these fantastic new authors. Books will be available for purchase, provided by local downtown bookstore Amazing Books.

And now, a word from our authors!

About the Tour

—a note from Erin Bowman, Susan Dennard, Sarah J. Maas, and Kat Zhang—

Simply put, the idea for the Young Authors Give Back tour was born over a series of emails between friends.

The four of us all contribute to an industry blog together and we knew we wanted to organize a group tour in the spring of 2013. A tour that brought us to some not-as-often visited cities. A tour that let us meet readers and sign books, but also a tour that let us do something different.

We wanted to give back. Pay-it-forward. Inspire.

However you choose to word it, we wanted to connect not only with readers but with writers. Young writers.

We’ve been writers most of our lives. We started writing young, we published (relatively) young, and we remember all too well that overwhelming urge to get out of school, rush home, and write. Write-write-write. (Even if there was tons of homework to be done.) We lived and breathed stories and heroes and quests and good vs. evil and happily ever after—still do, actually!—and we couldn’t write fast enough. Or often enough!

And so for this tour, we decided to incorporate small-group workshops into our schedule. Free workshops open to young aspiring writers (junior high thru college/ages 13-22). We’ll talk about craft and answer questions. We’ll write together. It will be awesome.

So that’s our plan and vision for the Young Authors Give Back tour: Travel. Pay-it-forward. Host workshops. Visit bookstores. Meet with readers and writers alike. (And, of course, live-blog the whole epic road trip via this tumblog.)

It should be a blast, and we hope to see you at one of the events!

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