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Schedule 2021

10AM: Opening Remarks and Keynote Speaker Angeline Boulley



Room 1: Here comes the Paranormal!

The paranormal subgenre of YA was all the rage in the mid-2000s - vampires, werewolves, mermaids, ...but the genre has evolved and thrived with so much more in recent years! The spooky and the magical come alive in the tales of these powerful storytellers.

Regina M Hansen, Kelly Powell, JF Dubeau

Room 2: Tips of the Trade

Are you an aspiring writer? These authors are pros at getting you to put your words down on paper, through the editing process and giving you tips on the road to publishing. This panel doubles as a workshop.

Liselle Sambury, Diane Terrana, Monique Polak, Erica S. Perl

Room 3: Indigenous Own Voices

Storytelling holds an important place within Indigenous cultures. These authors offer readers perspective, countering the accepted historical narrative, a narrative largely written by settlers, and challenges YA readers to reimagine the story. 

Chief Mi’sel Joe & Sheila O’Neill

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Room 1: All Debuts Are Good Debuts

Your first novel is a milestone and these debutants have taken the YA world by storm! Hear about their works in their own words and find out what inspired them to bring these stories to life. These authors with a debut novel under their belt share about what it’s like to emerge as a YA author.

Anuradha Rajurkar, Loan Le, Kelly Powell, Regina M Hansen, Sarah Suk, Crystal Maldonado

Room 2: The Show Must Go On - Sequels & Series

Writing a series or a sequel is its own expectations, new do these authors do it? Our panel will discuss how duologies, trilogies and long standing series come to life and keep us riveted for the next chapter.

Namina Forma, Ashley Shuttleworth, Ali Bryan, Dhonielle Clayton

Room 3: Writing Process

Editors, professors, publicists, booksellers: approaching the industry from another angle. This team of specialists will give you the low down on all the behind the scenes that goes into getting a book from the author into the hands of readers like you!

Sarah Mlynowski, Aimee Freedman, Debbie Rigaud, Laura Dail



Room 1: Tough Stuff

These authors don't shy away from writing about the difficult heavy, the traumatic, the bleak, the raw subject matter that needs to be discussed...but how?

Courtney Summers, Lindsay Wong, Ashley Shuttleworth, Namina Forna, Angeline Boulley, Diane Terrana

Room 2: Middle Grade Mania

They say Middle-grade fiction refers to books written for readers between the ages of 8 and 12, but the stories from this category aren't limited to tweens! Meet these amazing Middle Grade authors and learn about the power of stories for the next generation of readers.

Gordon Korman, Monique Polak, Erica Perl, Celia S. Perez, Sarah Mlynowski

Room 3: Thrillers

Stay up all night turning pages with bated breath - what happens next? These authors write gripping YA thrillers.

June Hur, JF Dubeau, Tess Sharpe, Ali Bryan



Room 1: Rainbow Panel

This panel is about writing LGBTQ+ characters in YA.

The genre has flourished but still has its pitfalls. These authors have it right.

Tess Sharpe, Kacen Callender, Tanya Boteju

Room 2: Fantasy

Worldbuilding and wonder are the key factors of fantasy. These authors crafts worlds unlike our own that we can tumble into through the pages of their books. Let's talk magic systems, maps, creatures, cultures and language.

Namina Forna, Ashley Shuttleworth, Liselle Sambury, Kelly Powell, Regina M Hansen, Dhonielle Clayton

Room 3: Contemporary

Enjoy reading about reality - but better? Realistic fiction that take place during (more-or-less) our time with teens who face situations much like our own. Romance, family, global pandemics...

Crystal Maldonado, Lynn Painter, Sarah Suk, Anne-Sophie Jouhanneau, Lindsay Wong, Anuradha Rajurkar

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Room 1: YA Fandom Creators

Being a writer isn't the only way to participate in YA. Podcasters, Bookstagrammers, YouTubers, these creators participate in the YA world through their own skillsets.

Elise Dubois (@ABookandaCup), Anne Larouche (@annelitterarum), Teffer Adjemian & Kadi Diop (YA! Podcast)

Room 2: NaNoWriMo Panel

Looking to write a novel? IN A MONTH? Every November, these authors take up the challenge - blood, sweat and tears and write 50K words. Hear their tips, their experiences and get inspired to join.

Room 3: "O Canada"

What does it mean to be a Canadian author writing for Canadian teens? These are authors have a distinct Canadian flavour to their work, and are shaping the identity of Canadian teens!

Diane Terrana, Ali Bryan, Monique Polak, JF Dubeau

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Room 1: We Need Diverse Books

We Need Diverse Books™ (with its founder, Dhonielle Clayton) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and a grassroots organization of children's book lovers that advocates essential changes in the publishing industry to produce and promote literature that reflects and honors the lives of all young people. These authors are here to discuss writing diversity, what the industry needs and how we're going to get there!

Dhonielle Clayton, Angeline Boulley, Tanya Boteju, Ashley Shuttleworth, June Hur, Celia Perez

Room 2: YA Romance

First Love, it's intense, it's life-changing and it makes our hearts flutter, skip and puts butterflies in our stomachs. These authors know how to write a romance that feels as real on the page as your own first love!

Aiden Thomas, Crystal Maldonado, Lynn Painter, Anne-Sophie Jouhanneau, Loan Le

Room 3: Family

"The ties that bind" Family can make us or break us - biological families, found families and figuring out who we are in the great wide world...without forgetting our roots.

Courtney Summers, Lindsay Wong, Liselle Sambury, Anuradha Rajurkar

4:30 - Closing Remarks

With the founder of the MTL YA Fest, Talya Pardo 

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