F180. Writing What We Know: Mining Personal Experience in YA Fiction

A103-104, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1
Friday, March 29, 2019
12:00 pm to 1:15 pm


How can we use our own lives, experiences, communities, and identities as inspiration for our fiction? What possibilities does this open up, and what potential problems does it create? How do we set boundaries for how much of our personal lives we share with our readers? Are we always, more or less, telling our own stories through our writing? These diverse authors will answer these questions and more as they discuss how they use their own lives as a source for their fiction.



Amy Reed is the author of eight contemporary YA novels, including Beautiful, Clean, and her most recent, The Nowhere Girls, about three misfit girls who start a movement to fight rape culture at their school. She also edited Our Stories, Our Voices, an anthology of personal essays by YA authors.

Lilliam Rivera is an award-winning writer and author of The Education of Margot Sanchez, a contemporary young adult novel. Recently named a "2017 Face to Watch" by the Los Angeles Times, Lilliam is also a 2016 Pushcart Prize winner. Her next YA novel, Dealing in Dreams, is forthcoming.

Ryan Douglass is an author and freelance journalist whose work has appeared most frequently in The Huffington Post. His debut young adult novel, Jake in the Box, is forthcoming.

Emily X.R. Pan is the New York Times bestselling author of The Astonishing Color of After. She received her MFA from NYU, was the founding editor in chief of Bodega Magazine, and is cocreator of Foreshadow: A Serial YA Anthology. In the past she has worked for Penguin and taught creative writing.

Anica Mrose Rissi is a former executive editor in children's book publishing and the author of the Anna, Banana chapter-book series, the picture books The Teacher's Pet and Watch Out for Wolf!, and a YA novel, Always Forever Maybe. Her essays have been published in The Writer and The New York Times.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center