Young Adult Authors

Olivia Abtahi’s debut novel, Perfectly Parvin, will be published with Penguin Random House Putnam Books For Young Readers, with forthcoming novels from LEE & LOW Tu Books. She currently lives in Denver, Colorado where she works as a documentary filmmaker. 

Daniel Aleman was born and raised in Mexico City. A graduate of McGill University, he is passionate about books, coffee, and dogs. After spending time in Montreal and the New York City area, he now lives in Toronto, where he is on a never-ending search for the best tacos in the city.

He is the debut author of Indivisible, a young adult novel coming on May 4, 2021 from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

Photo: Heather Nan Photography

Cory Anderson was born in Idaho and grew up an outdoor-girl in the rugged Middle Rockies. Her father, a park ranger, encouraged her to explore the woods and find “what beauty there is” in the world. He taught her to camp, and how to survive in the forest in winter. She later learned that they didn’t have a lot of money, but as a child she never knew it. She had two best friends: nature, and books. By seventh grade Cory was writing, and though it took a while, she got pretty good at it. Cory is a winner of the League of Utah Writers Young Adult Novel Award and Grand Prize in the Storymakers Conference First Chapter Contest. She lives in Utah with her family. What Beauty There Is is her debut novel.

Photo: Steven Rennie Photography

Claire M. Andrews was raised in both Alaska and Scotland, but currently lives in Vermont; when not writing, she can usually be found outside swimming, skiing or hiking across the state’s famous green mountains.

Photo credit: Greg Samborski Photograph

Kylie Lee Baker grew up in Boston and has since lived in Atlanta, Salamanca, and Seoul. Her work is informed by her heritage (Japanese, Chinese, & Irish) as well as her experiences living abroad as both a student and teacher. She has a BA in creative writing and Spanish from Emory University and is pursuing a master of library and information science degree at Simmons University. In her free time, she plays the cello, watches horror movies, and bakes too many cookies. The Keeper of Night is her debut novel.

Photo: Cathy Raff

Lori Banov Kaufmann was a strategy consultant for high-tech companies before she became a writer. She has an AB from Princeton University and an MBA from the Harvard Business School. When she learned about the discovery of the first-century tombstone, she wanted to know more. She was captivated by the ancient love story the stone revealed, which served as the inspiration for this book. Rebel Daughter is her debut novel. Lori Banov Kaufmann lives in Israel with her husband and four adult children. Visit her online at LoriKaufmann.com.

Rebel Daughter will be available Feb. 9, 2021 from Penguin Random House.

Photo: Tristan Bazay

Casie Bazay is a former middle school teacher and current freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared in multiple online and print publications, including The Horse, Horse Network, TeenEquineCountry ExtraOklahoma Horses Magazine, and Natural Horse Magazine.

Outside of work, Casie can be found caring for her many animals (including horses, goats, dogs, cats, and chickens), reading, or watching movies (especially YA movies) or her favorite television show, Dancing with the Stars. Casie loves traveling to beautiful places, such as the ones featured in NOT OUR SUMMER, but mostly enjoys spending time with her husband and two children on their thirty-acre farm in northeastern Oklahoma.

Photo: Judy Laing Photography

Elayne Audrey Becker is a storyteller with a passion for history, myth, mountains, and magic. Born and raised in Georgia, she holds degrees from Vassar College and the University of Aberdeen and works as an editor.

Tashie Bhuiyan is a Bangladeshi American writer based in New York City. She recently graduated from St. John’s University with a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations, and hopes to change the world, one book at a time. She loves writing stories about girls with wild hearts, boys who wear rings, and gaining agency through growth. When she’s not doing that, she can be found in a Chipotle or bookstore, insisting 2010 is the best year in cinematic history. (Read: Tangled and Inception.) 

Her debut novel COUNTING DOWN WITH YOU (Inkyard Press/HarperCollins) releases on May 4th, 2021. 

Photo: Barnaby Aldrick

When she’s not writing, Brianna Bourne works as a stage manager for ballet companies around the world. Originally from Texas, she grew up in Indonesia and Egypt and now lives in England with her husband and their two daughters. 

Her debut novel YOU & ME AT THE END OF THE WORLD is a high-concept YA romance that follows two very different teenagers after they wake up alone in a silent, empty Houston. It will be published by Scholastic US on July 20th, 2021.

Photo: Matt Moss

Tori Bovalino is originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and currently lives in London with her cat, Sir Gordon Greendige II. She holds a BA in English and anthropology from the University of Pittsburgh and an MA in Creative Writing from Royal Holloway, University of London. She is currently a student in Royal Holloway’s Creative writing and practice-based PhD program. Tori is obsessed with chai tea, oversized sweaters, and talking about Pittsburgh. She is active on social media as @toribov.

Photo: Open Image Studio

Kristy Boyce lives in Columbus, Ohio and teaches psychology as a senior lecturer at The Ohio State University. When she’s not spending time with her husband and son, she’s usually writing, reading, putting together fairy gardens, or watching happy reality TV (The Great British Bake-Off and So You Think You Can Dance are perennial favorites). Kristy loves to travel and is always looking for her next chance to return to Europe.

Photo: Rachal McCutchen

Elise Bryant was born and raised in Southern California. She earned her BA in Africana studies from California State University, Long Beach, and her MA in special education from Loyola Marymount University. For many years, Elise had the joy of working as a special education teacher in South Los Angeles, and she is also a National Board Certified Teacher. Elise now lives with her husband and two daughters in Long Beach, where she spends her days reading, writing, and eating dessert. Happily Ever Afters is her debut novel.

Photo: Natalie Pigliacampo

Olivia Chadha writes science fiction, fantasy, comics, and literary novels for YA and adult audiences. She began her writing career writing comic scripts for Michael Turner’s FathomBalance of Fragile Things is her debut adult literary novel, and Rise of the Red Hand is her YA debut. She holds a Ph.D. from SUNY Binghamton and a master’s from the CU Boulder in creative writing and literature. Her research centers on the history of exile, India’s Partition, borders / boundaries, global folklore / fairy tales, and the relationship between humans and the environment. She’s first-generation American Punjabi Sikh and Latvian/German descent. 

Photo: Lyndall Clipstone

Lyndall Clipstone writes about monsters and the girls who like to kiss them. A former youth librarian who grew up running wild in the Barossa Ranges of South Australia, she currently lives in Adelaide, where she tends her own indoor secret garden.

Her debut novel, LAKESEDGE, will be published by Henry Holt, Titan UK and Pan Macmillan Australia in Fall 2021.

Photo: Jennifer Widemire Smith

Growing up between swamps, a river, and the Gulf Coast, Candice Marley Conner’s stories emerge from gnarled burrows, muddy water, and salty air. She lives with her husband, children—Mermaid Girl and Dinosaur Boy—and two ferocious cats. Her YA Southern mystery, The Existence of Bea Pearl, will release in Spring 2021 from Owl Hollow Press. Candice is the kidlit haint at a haunted indie bookstore and a Local Liaison for SCBWI. Her work can be found in Highlights Hello and Babybug Magazine, and in anthologies such as Cabinet of CuriositiesMardi Gras PiecesUnder the Full Moon’s LightFireflies & Fairy Dust and Chicken Soup for the Soul.

Photo: Zelda de Hollander

When she was at school, Andreina Cordani used to get out of gym class by saying she would use the time to write a book and dedicate it to her gym teacher. Sadly it took years of exercise-dodging before she was able to complete The Girl Who…, and she hasn’t been able to touch her toes since 2002.

In the following years, she pursued a career in journalism, working for women’s magazines including Cosmopolitan and Good Housekeeping. Specialising in ‘real life’ stories, she interviews seemingly ordinary people about their extraordinary lives – most of which you wouldn’t believe if you read it in a novel.

She lives on the Dorset coast with her family where she reads voraciously, watches YouTubers with increasing fascination and swims in the sea.

Photo: Robert Yeates

Sarah Dass was born in Trinidad but has lived in Tobago since she was two years old. A graduate of University College London, she works as an office administrator by day and writes stories about the Caribbean by night. When she’s not writing, she’s reading or taking walks with her dachshund, Stella. Sarah’s debut novel is inspired by her childhood, spent in a seaside hotel.

Brooke Lauren Davis is the author of THE HOLLOW INSIDE (Bloomsbury YA /May 25, 2021), and she never quite knows what to say when people ask her where she’s from. An unruly child in suburban Virginia, a surly teenager in rural Ohio, and a bewildered college student in small-town Indiana, she’s now a hopelessly book-obsessed adult in Louisville, Kentucky. She loves stories of all kinds, from plays, to ballets, to TV shows, to memories rehashed over the dinner table. When she’s not writing, she can usually be found annoying her pets, haunting bookstores, or shouting Jeopardy! answers at the TV.

Auriane Desombre is the author of I Think I Love You, and currently works as a sixth-grade teacher and freelance editor. She holds an MA in English Literature from NYU and an MFA Creative Writing for Children & Young Adults from The New School. She currently lives in Los Angeles with her dog, Sammy, who is a certified bad boy.

Photo: Creative Paige Photography

J.Elle is a YA & MG author and advocate for marginalized voices in both publishing and her community. Born in Houston, Texas, Jess is a first-generation college student with a Bachelor of Journalism and Master of Arts in Educational Administration and Human Development. Her passion for empowering youth dates back before writing to her first career in education. She’s worked as a Preschool Director, Middle School Teacher, and High School Creative Writing Mentor. In her spare time you’ll find her volunteering at an alternative school, providing feedback for aspiring writers, loving on her three littles, or cooking up some dish true to her Texas and Louisiana roots. Wings of Ebony is her first novel. 

Isaac Fitzsimons grew up in the DC suburbs but spent his summers in England and France. When not writing young adult fiction, he enjoys trying out new recipes, supporting his soccer team, Manchester City, and butchering songs on the banjo, piano, and ukulele.

His dream vacation would be traveling around Europe via sleeper train to see every top-tier soccer team play a home game. He currently lives outside DC and works for an arts advocacy nonprofit in the city.

Photo: Todd Fraser

Mary Ann Fraser loves to get lost—in the wilderness, in the wilds of a book, or in a world of her own creation. She writes and illustrates for children of all ages with over seventy books to her credit. She collects marbles and old ink bottles and has painted more murals than she can count, despite a fear of heights. Mary Ann is a proud member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and a founding member of the Childrens’ Authors Network. When she is not lost in a story, she is hiking the trails of Idaho, digging in the garden, or playing her hammered dulcimer and djembe drum (thankfully not at the same time). 

Jonny Garza Villa is a product of the Great State of Texas, born and raised along the Gulf Coast and a decade-long resident of San Antonio. As an avid reader and a hoarder of both composition notebooks and gel pens since youth, on reaching this tremendous life goal of becoming a published writer, his comments can be summarized as “not surprising but still pretty unbelievable.” 

He is an author of contemporary young adult fiction that maintains a brand of being proudly Latinx, the most queer, and embracing the power and beauty of the chaotic gay. He sees writing as activism. As a way to bring the good, bad, and in between into the lives of readers and connect historically, sociologically, culturally, and politically in our lives, especially fellow QTPOC readers.

When not writing, Jonny enjoys reading, playing Dungeons and Dragons, bar hopping, late night honey butter chicken biscuits from Whataburger, and telling everyone about the ways being a Sagittarius sun has affected his life.

Photo: Tyler Cranden

Erica George is a writer of young adult fiction. She is a graduate of The College of New Jersey with degrees in both English and education, and is currently an MFA student at Vermont College of Fine Arts. She resides in scenic Hunterdon County, New Jersey, but spends her summers soaking up the salty sea air on Cape Cod.

Many themes in Erica’s writing rotate around environmental activism and helping young people find their voice. When she’s not writing, you can find her exploring, whale watching, or engrossed in quality British drama with her dog at her side. Words Composed of Sea and Sky is her debut young adult novel.

Halli Gomez teaches martial arts and writes for children and young adults. She has written several stories with neurodivergent characters including her young adult novel, LIST OF TEN (Sterling, March 2021). When no one is looking, she sock skates through the house and talks to dogs like they are human. When people are looking, she enjoys reading, outdoors, and breaking out of escape rooms with her family. Halli lives in Charlotte with her husband, two boys, and two dogs.

Courtney Gould writes books about queer girls, ghosts, and things that go bump in the night. She graduated from Pacific Lutheran University in 2016 with a Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing and Publishing. Born and raised in Salem, OR, she now lives and writes in Tacoma, WA where she continues to write love letters to the haunted girls and rural, empty spaces. The Dead and the Dark is her debut novel. 

Photo: Woody Green

Holly Green is a former potter, a YA writer, a sometimes canoe racer, and a terrible gardener. She lives with her family in Austin, Texas, where she swims every chance she gets and enjoys hiking when it’s not a million degrees outside. She has a BA in Ceramics and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. Her debut novel IN THE SAME BOAT will be published by Scholastic on July 20, 2021.

Photo: Dawndra Budd

Rachel Griffin was born on the vernal equinox and is a proud spring witch. She has a deep love of nature, and when she isn’t writing, you can find her wandering the Pacific Northwest, reading by the fire, or drinking copious amounts of coffee and tea. Rachel has mentored in Pitch Wars since 2017 and became a certified weather spotter for the National Weather Service while doing research for this book. She lives in the Seattle area with her husband, small dog named Doppler, and growing collection of houseplants. The Nature of Witches is her debut novel.

Photo: Cary Anne Hall

Spencer Hall graduated from the University of the Cumberlands in Kentucky with a BS in English. He moved to Chicago to study improv, but soon realized when it came to being funny, he was better at writing things down than making them up on the spot. When he’s not writing, he can be found running by the lake, occasionally performing stand-up comedy at poorly attended open mic nights, and researching how to become a professional mini-golf player. Kind of Sort of Fine is his first novel.

Pamela N. Harris was born and somewhat raised in Newport News, VA—also affectionately known as “Bad News.” A former school counselor by day, she received her BA in English and a Master’s in school counseling at Old Dominion University, her MFA in creative writing at Fairleigh Dickinson University, and a PhD in counselor education and supervision at William and Mary. When she isn’t writing, Pam is re-watching Leonardo DiCaprio movies, chasing after her toddler son, and pretending to enjoy exercising. When You Look Like Us is her debut novel. She lives in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Photo: Cassandra Hartt

Cassandra Hartt grew up in Maine and upstate New York before earning an English degree from Dartmouth College. She currently lives in the California Bay Area and wishes she had a dog. The Sea is Salt and So Am I is her first novel. 

Photo: Brandy Yi

Carly Heath earned her B.A. from San Francisco State University and her M.F.A. from Chapman University. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Carly teaches design, art, theater, and writing for various colleges and universities. The Reckless Kind is her first novel.

Photo: Paul Ngo

Ariel Henley is a writer from Northern California. Her work explores her own experiences growing up with a facial difference/ disfigurement, as a result of Crouzon syndrome — a rare craniofacial disorder where the bones in the head fuse prematurely. She writes about issues related to beauty, equality, human connection, and trauma. She shares her story in an effort to help eliminate stigma, educate others about the importance of facial equality, and promote mainstream inclusion for individuals with physical differences. Her work has appeared in outlets like The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, The Rumpus, and Narratively. Her forthcoming memoir, A Face for Picasso, will be out on November 2, 2021 from FSG BYR.

Photo: Kwame Ivery

Kwame Ivery was born in the Bronx and raised in East Orange, New Jersey. He received a BA in psychology from Princeton University and an MFA in dramatic writing from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. He’s had a screenplay optioned by Hollywood storyboard artist Karl Shefelman (The Silence of the Lambs, Confessions of a Shopaholic) and a short story in the ezine Smashed Cat. He’s a proud high school English teacher with 100-plus teenage students who, on a daily basis, teach him just as many things as he teaches them.

Photo: Emma Miller

Anya Leigh Josephs started writing Queen of All when she was only eleven years old. As a queer, fat Jewish girl growing up in the American South, she looked to books for stories of adventure and escape. More than fifteen years later, she is so proud to bring a fantasy series into the world where kids like herself get to be the heroes. Anya now lives and works in New York City, where she teaches foster youth pursuing college degrees. When not working or writing, she can be found seeing a lot of plays, reading doorstopper fantasy novels, or worshipping her cat, Sycorax. Her writing can be found in Andromeda Spaceways Magazine, The Green Briar Review, the Necronomicon Anthology, SPARK, SoLaced, Prouud2BeMe, The Huffington Post, Anti-Heroin Chic, Mythaxis, and Poets Reading the News.

Anne-Sophie Jouhanneau is a bilingual French author of young adult fiction and nonfiction. Her books have been translated into seven languages. Kisses and Croissants is her U.S. debut. She lives in New York City with her Australian husband and their American cat. 

Jason June is a genderqueer author who writes flamboyant and slightly dark picture books as well as Young Adult rom-coms full of all kinds of queer love. When not writing, JJ zips about Austin, Texas. He loves dinosaurs, unicorns, merpeople, and anything magical that takes you to a different world or time. Also, Laura Dern.

Jason June’s debut Young Adult novel, JAY’S GAY AGENDA, launches June 1st, 2021, from HarperTeen.

Photo: Diana Ascarrunz

Laekan Zea Kemp is a writer living in Austin, Texas. She has three objectives when it comes to storytelling: to make people laugh, cry, and crave Mexican food. Her work celebrates Chicanx grit, resilience, creativity, and joy while exploring themes of identity and mental health. Her debut novel, SOMEWHERE BETWEEN BITTER & SWEET is forthcoming from Little Brown in spring 2021.

Photo: Erin Summerill

Emma Kress loves writing about badass girls and her debut novel DANGEROUS PLAY (Macmillan, Summer 2021) is a fast-paced thriller about a team of field hockey players who refuse to accept the world as it is, and set out to change it. She is a graduate of Vassar College, Columbia University’s Teachers College, and the Vermont College of Fine Arts’ Writing for Children and Young Adults MFA program. An educator of over 20 years, Emma was a finalist for New York State Teacher of the Year in 2014. Before teaching, Emma worked in social services helping survivors of sexual assault. Now, she lives with her family in Saratoga Springs, NY. 

Photo: Loan Le

Loan Le (she/her/hers) holds an MFA degree in fiction from Fairfield University, where she also earned her bachelor’s degree. A Pushcart Prize-nominated writer, Loan has had her short stories appear in CRAFT LiteraryMud Season Review, and more. Loan works in book publishing and lives in Manhattan. A Phở Love Story is her first novel. Visit her website at writerloanle.me and find her on Twitter @loanloan. 

Photo: Emery Lee

Emery Lee is a kidlit author, artist, and YouTuber hailing from a mixed-racial background. After graduating with a degree in creative writing, e’s gone on to author novels, short stories, and webcomics. Emery is the author of MEET CUTE DIARY, a YA trans romcom out from HarperCollins in 2021. When away from reading and writing, you’ll most likely find em engaged in art or snuggling cute dogs.

Marti Leimbach is known for her bestsellers, Dying Young, made into a film starring Julia Roberts, and Daniel Isn’t Talking. She is interested in neurodiversity and has shared the stage with young inventors at the Human Genome Project (Toronto), the National Autistic Society, and the University of Oxford. Her interest in science influenced her YA thriller, Dragonfly Girl.

She teaches on the Masters Programme in Creative Writing at the University of Oxford. Dragonfly Girl is her eighth novel, but her first for young adults.

Photo: Carter Hasegawa at Long River Photography

Nicole Lesperance grew up on Cape Cod and now lives near Boston with her husband, two kids, and two rambunctious black cats. She writes young adult and middle grade books. In her spare time, Nicole likes to knit, practice yoga, and read tarot cards.

Photo: photo credit goes here

Jessica Lewis is a Black author and receptionist from Alabama. She has a degree in English Literature and Animal Science (the veterinarian plan did not work out). She lives with her way-funnier-than-her grandmother. When she isn’t writing or working, she enjoys watching cooking shows or HGTV-type home shows.

To learn more about Lewis, find updates on her debut novel, Bad Witch Burning, and learn about her other books, follow @JLew100 on Twitter.

Photo: photo credit goes here

Violet Lumani was raised in a family of superstitious omen-watchers, absorbing the stories and myths her family brought to America with them. She holds a BA from Barnard College of Columbia University, and an MBA from UCONN and lives in Connecticut with her husband, two kids, and two bickering chihuahuas.

Crystal Maldonado is a young adult author with a lot of feelings. By day, she is a social media manager working in higher ed, and by night, a writer who loves Beyoncé, shopping, the internet, and being extra. Her work has been published in Latina Magazine and the Hartford Courant

Her debut novel, FAT CHANCE, CHARLIE VEGA (Holiday House), will be released on Feb. 2, 2021. Find her @crystalwrote and crystalwrote.com

Photo: James Mangle

Bethany Mangle is the author of the Prepped. She was born in Korea and raised in New Jersey in a household full of books, sheet music, and dog hair. She currently lives and writes in Mississippi. Visit her at BethanyMangle.com.

GABRIELA MARTINS is a Brazilian kidlit author and linguist. Her stories feature Brazilian characters finding themselves and love. She was a high school teacher and has also worked as a TED Ed-Club facilitator, where she helped teens develop their own talks in TED format to present. She edited and self-published a pro-bono LGBTQ+ anthology (KEEP FAITH) with all funds going to queer people in need. Gabriela also used to host monthly webinars with themes ranging from Linguistics in Fiction to Self-Care for Writers.

Photo: Greg Mason

Michelle I. Mason is the author of Your Life Has Been Delayed, forthcoming from Bloomsbury Sept. 7, 2021, as well as a second untitled young adult novel in 2022. Michelle spent ten years as a PR manager promoting everything from forklift rodeos to Hotel Olympics before deciding she’d rather focus on made-up stories. When she isn’t writing, she’s probably reading, watching too much TV, cross-stitching, baking amazing brownies, or playing the violin. Michelle lives in St. Louis with her husband, two kids, a dog, and two cats.

G.F. Miller absolutely insists on a happy ending. Everything else is negotiable. Her wish is to go everywhere—and when a plane ticket isn’t available, books fill the gaps. She cries at all the wrong times. She makes faces at herself in the mirror. She believes in the Oxford comma. And she’s always here for a dance party.

Photo: Pallavi Sharma

Kalena Miller grew up in College Station, TX with her mom, dad, and the most photographed hamster in history. After high school, she moved a thousand miles north to attend Carleton College, where she graduated summa cum laude with a BA in Religious Studies. After a brief stint working as a paraeducator in Seattle, Kalena decided she missed school too much, so she spent the next two years pursuing her MFA in Creative Writing at Hamline University.

Kalena currently lives in Hopkins, Minnesota with her husband, Kenny, and Toy Australian Shepherd, Toshley. She writes middle grade and young adult fiction and co-authors narrative nonfiction with her mom, Kathy Miller. She loves books that make her laugh and make her cry, preferably at the same time, and she firmly believes all quality novels should feature a cat. THE NIGHT WHEN NO ONE HAD SEX is her first novel.

Photo: Brandi Image Photography

Maria Ingrande Mora is a marketing executive and a brunch enthusiast. Her love languages are snacks, queer joy, and live music. A graduate of the University of Florida, Maria lives near a wetlands preserve with two dogs, two cats, two children, and two billion mosquitoes. She can often be found writing at her stand-up desk, surrounded by house plants. Unless the cats have already destroyed them.

Miel Moreland was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota. With time spent in California and France, she has a Midwestern heart but wandering feet. She studied English, Politics, and French in college, and has spent most of her career working in education. When not making pop music references and celebrating fandom, she is likely to be found drinking hot chocolate and making spreadsheets. She currently resides in Boston. Her first novel, IT GOES LIKE THIS, debuts May 2021 with Feiwel & Friends.

Sarena and Sasha Nanua are twin sisters living in Ontario, Canada. Born on Diwali ten minutes apart from each other, they grew up loving stories about twins and magic, and began writing books together when they were nine years old. They are graduates of the English and Professional Writing programs at the University of Toronto and are also the authors of The Pendant Trilogy. You can visit them online at sarenasashabooks.com. 

Cassandra Newbould is the creator and host of the Fat Like Me podcast and community. Fat Like Me is a show where Cass chats all things fat with authors, entertainers, and ac@vists about life, the arts, and why we desperately need more body diversity in kidlit today. As a writer of middle grade and young adult fic@on, Cassandra creates stories where kids of all sizes can see themselves featured as the main character and not just the funny fat friend.

When Cass isn’t wri@ng or doing a show she can be found hanging out with her 3 kids, 3 dogs, 2 cats, and 1 husband deep in the countryside of the PNW.

Bridget Caswell Photography

Kate Norris first became intrigued by the weirdness of the quantum world while reading the works of physicists like Schrödinger, Fermi, Einstein, and Heisenberg as an undergrad at St. John’s College, where she had the unique opportunity to perform experiments with the campus Faraday cage and attend parties in a Foucault pendulum pit, but the true origin of her debut young adult sci fi novel, When You and I Collide, was a completely unscientific question: What would it be like to meet yourself? What if they were better looking than you, happier than you? What if they had everything you were missing?

Kate received her MFA from Ohio State University, and currently lives in Cleveland. When she’s not writing (or reading), you’ll find her wandering near the lake with her greyhound Teddy, chomping a poke bowl in the park, or hitting a heavy bag.

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Photo: Breanna Olson

Jessica S. Olson claims New Hampshire as her home, but has somehow found herself in Texas, where she spends most of her time singing praises to the inventor of the air conditioner. When she’s not hiding from the heat, she’s corralling her three wild—but adorable—children, dreaming up stories about kissing and murder and magic, and eating peanut butter by the spoonful straight from the jar. She earned a bachelor’s in English with minors in editing and French, which essentially means she spent all of her university time reading and eating French pastries. Sing Me Forgotten is her debut novel.

Carolyn Tara O’Neil grew up in a tiny New York City apartment filled with thousands of books. Every Friday she went to the public library for even more reading material. She now lives in a slightly smaller NYC apartment with slightly fewer books, and still goes to the library every week.  

In between then and now, Carolyn has lived in France, Spain, and Japan. She is happiest when in the woods or chatting with friends over tea, and is always eager to discuss TV, books, politics, and how we can work together to build a more equal society. 

Her debut novel, DAUGHTERS OF A DEAD EMPIRE, is a reimagining of the Anastasia legend set during the Russian Revolution. It will be published by Roaring Brook Press (Macmillan) in Fall 2021.

Photo: Linda Arki

Louisa Onomé is a Nigerian-Canadian writer of books for teens. She holds a BA in professional writing from York University and works in counselling. A part of the Author Mentor Match round 3 cohort, she is also a writing mentor and all-around cheerleader for diverse works and writers. When she is not writing, her hobbies include picking up languages she may never use, crying over her favourite video games, and perfecting her skincare routine. She currently resides in the Toronto area. 

Photo: Sam Hardy

Alexandra Overy grew up in London and moved to Los Angeles to pursue her undergraduate degree in history at UCLA, followed by her MFA in screenwriting also at UCLA. She loves writing in all formats, from novels to screenplays to graphic novels, always centring on fierce women and morally grey characters, often with a bit of magic and murder. Her debut novel, These Feathered Flames, releases April 20 2021 from Inkyard Press. When she’s not writing, she can be found baking, fangirling over her favourite books, or cuddling her cat.

Photo: Jackson Okun

Lynn Painter lives in Nebraska with her husband and pack of wild kids. She’s a regular contributor to the Omaha World-Herald, and when she isn’t writing, she can be found shot-gunning Red Bulls and binge-reading.

Photo: Mikhail Panin

Cyla Panin is an MG and YA writer who prefers to look at the world through a dusting of magic. After spending most of her childhood wanting to escape into the wonderful worlds her favourite authors created, she’s now using her own words to craft magical places. When not writing, Cyla can be found playing dinosaurs with her two young boys, watching swashbuckling and/or period TV shows with her husband, and, of course, reading. She is represented by Chloe Seager of the Madeliene Milburn Literary, TV, and Film Agency.

Photo: Katie Murray

Amy Noelle Parks is an associate professor at Michigan State University. When she’s not using One Direction lyrics as writing prompts, she’s helping future teachers recover from the trauma inflicted on them by years of school mathematics.  She lives in Michigan with her husband and two daughters. 

Lisabeth Posthuma was a teacher, a photographer, and most importantly, a video rental clerk before becoming a writer. She holds an English degree from one of those really expensive private liberal arts colleges that no one can afford (including her). She grew up obsessed with teen soaps, which her therapist says explains a lot, and likes to brag about that one time she attended the cast party for The OC. She currently lives in Michigan where the winters are too long with her two parakeets Tiki Bon Jovi and Alaska Riggins.

Photo: Tab London

Tirzah Price grew up on a farm in Michigan, where she read every book she could get her hands on and never outgrew her love for YA fiction. She holds an MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and is a former bookseller and librarian. Now, she’s a contributing editor at Book Riot, where she can be found recommending books on the site, newsletters, podcasts, and social media accounts. When she’s not writing, reading, or thinking about YA books, she splits her time between experimenting in the kitchen and knitting enough socks to last the fierce Michigan winters.

Photo: Lauritta Stellers

Michelle Quach is a graphic designer and writer living in Los Angeles. She’s Chinese-Vietnamese-American and a graduate of Harvard University, where she studied history and literature. She loves rom-coms, characters who don’t always do the right thing, and any dog that kind of looks like her dog. She is also, regrettably, a boba snob. NOT HERE TO BE LIKED, available Fall 2021 from Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins in the US and Usborne Books in the UK, is her first novel.

Photo: DeAnna Heidmann

Anuradha D. Rajurkar is the nationwide recipient of the SCBWI Emerging Voices Award for her contemporary debut, American Betiya (Knopf). Born and raised in the Chicago area to South Asian immigrant parents, Anuradha earned two degrees from Northwestern University, and for many years had the joy of being a public school teacher by day, writer by night. Nowadays, when she’s not writing or reading, Anuradha spends her time hiking through forests, obsessing over her garden, watching old horror flicks with her sons, eating too many baked yummies, or roguishly knitting sweaters without their patterns. She hopes her stories will inspire teens to embrace their unique identities and inner badass despite outside pressures and cultural expectations. American Betiya is her first novel.

Vincent Ralph has been writing in one form or another since his teens and always dreamed of being a novelist. He owes his love of books to his mother, who encouraged his imagination from an early age and made sure there were new stories to read. 14 Ways to Die, his debut YA thriller, is published by Sourcebooks Fire on 1 June.

Photo: Robbie Fay

Hannah Reynolds is the author of the upcoming young adult romantic comedy, THE SUMMER OF LOST LETTERS. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, not far from where she grew up. She enjoys stress baking chocolate desserts and desserts that masquerade as breakfast. Her books are about strong female friendships, mother-daughter relationships, and family secrets. And kissing. Lots of kissing.

Under the pen name Allison Parr, she also writes adult romance novels about women in their twenties living their best, messiest lives in New York City.

Laura Brooke Robson grew up in the mountains of Oregon and studied creative writing at Stanford, where she sold her debut as a senior. She likes running, coffee, long podcasts on the beach, and aerial silks. She does not like writing third-person bios, but she’d do anything for you.

Photo: Kristie Lea Photography

Monica Rodden lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband, Greg, and a dog who loves to chase everything. When not preventing Hamlet from terrorizing the local squirrel population, she writes murder mysteries for young adults…with a classic twist!

Her first book, MONSTERS AMONG US, will be published by Random House on January 5th, 2021. It’s a story of murder and trauma and chronic illness, all wrapped up in the gloomy, ghostly atmosphere of Wuthering Heights.

And yes, there is a ghost! Sort of.

Monica enjoys true crime, subversive female characters, and never Marie Kondo-ing her books. Her dearest ambition is that one day Stephen King will respond to her on Twitter.

Photo: Carolyn Fong Photography

Katherine Rothschild is a Lecturer in the Program for Writing and Rhetoric at Stanford University, a former ballet and Arabic dance instructor, and an obsessive Twitter food truck-follower. Her first-person essays have been published on KQED/NPR, in The San Francisco Chronicle, and in several other Bay Area and California publications, and her academic work is published by Purdue University Press. She holds an MFA in Fiction Writing, a PhD in Applied Linguistics, has received artist’s grants from Vermont Studio Center and Kindlings West, and is a longtime member of the SCBWI. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family.

Laura Rueckert is a card-carrying bookworm who manages projects by day. At night, fueled by European chocolate, she transforms into a writer of young adult science fiction and fantasy novels. Laura grew up in Michigan, USA, but a whirlwind romance after college brought her to Europe. Today, she lives in Germany with her husband, two kids, and one fluffy dog.

Her debut YA Fantasy novel A DRAGONBIRD IN THE FERN will be available August 3, 2021 from Flux.

Photo: Lisa DeNeffe Photography

Allison Saft was born in a Philadelphia blizzard and has been chasing the sun ever since. After receiving her MA in English Literature from Tulane University, she moved from the Gulf Coast to the West Coast, where she spends her time hiking the redwoods and practicing aerial silks. Down Comes the Night is her debut novel.

Ginny Myers Sain lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and has spent the past twenty years working closely with teens as a director and acting instructor in a program designed for high school students seriously intent on pursuing a career in the professional theatre. Having grown up in deeply rural America, she is interested in telling stories about resilient kids who come of age in remote settings.  Her debut novel, DARK AND SHALLOW LIES, will be available from Razorbill Books on 8-31-21. Follow her on Twitter @stageandpage and on Instagram @ginnymyerssain, or find her on her website at ginnymyerssain.com.

Steven Salvatore is a queer (gay and genderqueer, using he/him and they/them pronouns) writer who lives in New York with their husband (also named Steve.) Steven has worked in higher education since 2011, teaching composition courses across curriculums. When not writing or teaching, you can find them re-watching any and all Star Wars media or listening to Mariah Carey’s extensive and impeccable catalog.

Photo: Liselle Sambury

Liselle Sambury is a Toronto-based author whose debut novel BLOOD LIKE MAGIC will be releasing in 2021 with Margaret K McElderry. Her brand of writing can be described as “messy black girls in fantasy situations.” She works in social media and spends her free time embroiled in reality tv because when you write messy characters you tend to enjoy that sort of drama. She also shares helpful tips for upcoming writers and details of her publishing journey through a YouTube channel dedicated to helping demystify the sometimes complicated business of being an author.

Photo: Claudia Sanchez

Jasper Sanchez is a transmasculine author from the heart of Northern California wine country. He earned his BA in anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania and his MA in cinema and media studies from UCLA. He now lives in Seattle with his cat, Simon, who might be more opinionated than he is. When he’s not writing, he can be found wandering museums, scouring the city for the best espresso, and annotating lists of his favorite Star Trek episodes.

Ashley Shuttleworth is a young adult fantasy author with a degree in English literature and a slight obsession with The Legend of Zelda, Kingdom Hearts, and Final Fantasy. They currently live in Ontario, Canada, with their cat named Zack and a growing collection of cosplay swords.

Colby Cedar Smith is a poet and a novelist who grew up in the Midwest and still dreams of the cold northern woods and the smell of lake water. Her poems have appeared in Bellevue Literary Review, Harper Palate, Mid-American Review, Pleiades, Potomac Review, Saranac Review, Spillway, and The Iowa Review. She has been shortlisted for the Colorado Prize for Poetry, the Iowa Review Poetry Prize, and the 92Y/Discovery Prize in Poetry. She is the recipient of a 2020 Poetry Fellowship from the New Jersey Council on the Arts; and a New Jersey Arts in Education Residency Grant for her work as a teaching artist with the “Nature Harmony Project,” which introduces elementary students to the wonder of opening their imaginations, while communing with the natural world. When not writing, Colby likes to camp and hike with her geologist husband and two spunky children; visit art museums; watch historical dramas; swim in natural bodies of water; and hold living room dance parties.


Colby’s debut YA novel in verse, CALL ME ATHENA: GIRL FROM DETROIT, is slated for release August 2021 from Andrews McMeel.

Photo: Sharona Jacobs

Joan F. Smith lives with her family in Massachusetts, where she works as an associate dean, a creative writing professor, and a dance instructor. She received her MFA in creative writing from Emerson College, and has written articles for The Washington Post and Thought Catalog on destigmatizing discussions around mental health and suicide prevention. The Half-Orphan’s Handbook is her debut novel.

Photo: Oak Moon Photography

Dana Swift graduated from the University of Texas at Austin and is an active member of the DFW Writers’ Workshop. She lives in Miami, Florida, with her husband. Cast in Firelight is her debut novel.

Photo: JP Martin

Ray Stoeve is a writer. They received a 2016-2017 Made at Hugo House Fellowship for their young adult fiction, 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. They contributed to Take The Mic: Fictional Stories of Everyday Resistance (Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic Books). Their first young adult novel, Between Perfect and Real, will be published by Amulet Books on April 27, 2021, with a second standalone novel to follow. When they’re not writing, they can be found gardening, making art in other mediums, or hiking their beloved Pacific Northwest.

Photo: Farisia Thang

Sarah Suk (pronounced like soup with a K) lives in Vancouver, Canada where she writes stories and admires mountains. When she’s not writing, you can find her hanging out by the water, taking film photos, or eating a bowl of bingsu.

Jesse Q Sutanto is the author of Dial A for Aunties, The Obsession, and Theo Tan and the Fox Spirit. She has a master’s degree in creative writing from Oxford University, though she hasn’t found a way of saying that without sounding obnoxious. The film rights to her women’s fiction, Dial A for Aunties, was bought by Netflix in a competitive bidding war. The novel will be out in April 2021. Jesse lives in Indonesia with her husband, her two daughters, and her ridiculously large extended family, many of whom live just down the road.

June CL Tan writes science fiction and fantasy inspired by her childhood in multicultural Singapore where she was raised on a diet of classic books and wuxia movies, caffeine and congee. She has an MA in Cinema Studies which means she spent a lot of time musing about Bruce Lee and Shanghai cinema of the early 20th century. A former teacher, she has also worked at start-ups focusing on education and technology. As a cancer survivor, she is passionate about living life to the fullest. When she is not writing, she can be found wandering the streets of New York City in search of everyday mysteries and miracles.

Her debut YA fantasy novel, JADE FIRE GOLD, will be published by Harper Collins in Fall 2021.

Photo: Tamara McMurdie

Sam Taylor grew up in Arizona’s desert and now lives among Connecticut’s trees. She writes fantasy novels for teenagers, and magic is always at the heart of her stories. 

For her writing, Sam has won the Tassy Walden Award for New Voices in Children’s Literature and twice received the Young Adult Romance Writers of America Rosemary Award. She’s worked as a proofreader, copywriter, and instructor of university writing courses before deciding to write her own books. We Are the Fire is her debut novel.

When she’s not writing, Sam spends her time being mom to the world’s cutest toddler, whirling through dance workouts, and baking too many cakes. She does not possess fire magic, but does have one fire-colored cat. 

Sam is represented by Allison Hellegers of Stimola Literary Studio.

Photo: Sylvie Rosokoff

Adrienne Tooley grew up in Southern California, majored in musical theater in Pittsburgh, and now lives in Brooklyn with her wife, six guitars, and a banjo. In addition to writing novels, she is a singer/songwriter who has currently released three indie-folk EPs. SWEET & BITTER MAGIC is her debut novel.

Photo: Jennifer Schaibly

Heather Truett is a writer, a mother, and a somewhat heretical pastor’s wife. She is currently an MFA candidate in poetry at the University of Memphis. Heather lives in Mississippi with her husband and two teenage sons, along with their three cats, where she works part-time as a copywriter for a home décor website. Heather is autistic and passionate about the neurodiversity movement.

Photo: Rebecca Orr

Emily Victoria is a Canadian prairie girl who writes young adult science fiction and fantasy. When not word-smithing, she likes walking her over-excitable dog, drinking far too much tea, and crocheting things she no longer has the space to store. This Golden Flame is her debut novel.

Photo: Melissa Spector Photography

Jennie Wexler developed a passion for storytelling at a young age, penning her first “novel” at seven years old. THE PENCIL EATING MONSTER has been translated into zero languages and her parents own the only copy. Since then, Jennie earned a BA in literature/rhetoric from Binghamton University and an MA in television/radio/film from The S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. She spent the first part of her career producing and writing scripts for television shows appearing on VH1, Bravo, and The Travel Channel. Jennie’s debut novel, WHERE IT ALL LANDS, will be released by Wednesday Books on July 6th, 2021. You can follow her on twitter at @jenwex.

Claire Winn is a science fiction and fantasy author, with her debut YA sci-fi, CITY OF SHATTERED LIGHT, coming fall 2021. A gamer at heart, she writes books that are fast-paced, snarky, and driven by fierce, flawed characters.

Since graduating from Northwestern University, Claire has worked as a legal writer, freelance editor, and publishing intern. In her free time, she builds props and armor for cosplay, writes storylines for LARP games, tears up dance floors, and battles with boffer swords.

Photo: Tammy Zdunich

Sacha Wunsch grew up dividing her time between the family farm in Canada and traveling to numerous fictional worlds. She was a bookseller before discovering her love of writing mind-twisty novels – which has proved an excellent job since she gets to blame all the TV she watches on her love of storytelling. She now splits her time between the city and the lake, and still travels to made-up worlds as often as she can. 

Xiran Jay Zhao is a meme-loving shitposter who is somehow becoming a published author. She is a first-generation immigrant to Canada from small town China (which, for China, means a town of 4 million people). A recent graduate from Vancouver’s Simon Fraser University, she wrote sci-fi and fantasy books while she probably should’ve been studying more biochemical pathways. She is in a cow suit because she made a promise to her friends 7 years ago that she would take her author photo in it if she actually got published, and she is not going back on that promise. You can find her on Twitter for daily shitposts and Instagram for cosplays and very Extra outfits.