R139. (Ad)Dressing the Wound: Writing the Traumatic Event with Truth and Sensitivity

Grand Salon B, Marriott Waterside, Second Floor
Thursday, March 8, 2018
10:30 am to 11:45 am


Franz Kafka famously said we ought to “read only the kind of books that wound or stab us.” But Kafka was coming from a place of privilege—and he wasn’t writing for young adults. How do you write the reality of rape, suicide, police brutality, and violence without re-traumatizing young readers? And how do you plumb the depths of your personal traumas while also taking care of yourself emotionally? In this panel, four YA authors talk about how and why they write traumatic events into their novels.


Bree Barton has published short stories in The Iowa Review, Mid-American Review, PANK, and Necessary Fiction. As a ghostwriter, she's written more than twenty books, including nonfiction bestsellers and a novel adapted for primetime TV. Her debut YA novel, Heart of Thorns, is forthcoming.

Emily X.R. Pan's debut YA novel is The Astonishing Color of After. She is the founding editor in chief of Bodega magazine and received her MFA in fiction from NYU. In the past, she has worked for Penguin and taught creative writing to undergraduate students and hospital residents.

Sonia Belasco has spent much of her professional life working with teenagers as a mentor, tutor, and therapist, and she is often inspired by their passion, creativity, and strength. She received her MFA from California College of the Arts, and her debut novel is entitled Speak of Me As I Am.

Nic Stone is a youth mentor and author of the YA novel Dear Martin. Growing up with people from a wide range of cultures, religions, and backgrounds fueled her love of stories and insatiable wanderlust. After a few years in Israel, she returned to the US to write YA fiction with diversity in mind.

Terry J. Benton


March 7–10, 2018
Tampa, FL

Tampa Convention Center & Marriott Tampa Waterside