R151. Commercial Literary Fiction (Not an Oxymoron): The Place of Craft in Writing and Teaching Children's and Young Adult Literature

Room 618/619/620, Washington State Convention Center, Level 6
Thursday, February 27, 2014
10:30 am to 11:45 am


Young Adult and Children’s literature are exciting, increasingly popular markets that many writers want to break into. How do you make your manuscript—or help make your students’ manuscripts—stand out... and sell? How does being commercial mean respecting the reader, not something crass? Five published YA and Children’s authors will present exercises they employ in their own writing, and in workshops they teach, to develop authentic voice, characters, and story worlds that editors will snap up.



Micol Ostow has written many books for teens, including the Sydney Taylor Notable So Punk Rock (and Other Ways to Disappoint Your Mother). She spent eight years as a young adult editor, and she currently runs a teen writing workshop at MediaBistro.com.

Stephanie Kuehnert is the author of two young adult novels, Ballads of Suburbia and I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone. A writer for Rookie magazine, she has taught fiction writing to teens, undergraduate and graduate students, and working professionals.

Laurel Snyder is the author of five children's novels, six picture books, and two collections of poems. She has published essays in such places as Salon, The Boston Globe, and the Utne Reader, and she is a commentator for NPR's All Things Considered.

Sara Zarr is the author of five novels for young adults. A National Book Award finalist and two-time Utah Book Award winner, she is currently on the faculty of Lesley University’s Low-Residency Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program.

Nova Ren Suma is the author of the YA novels Imaginary Girls and 17 & Gone. She has received fellowships from NYFA, the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, Djerassi, the Millay Colony, and the Hambidge Center. She teaches YA writing with Mediabistro.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center