Young adult literature is the fastest growing segment of the publishing industry, appealing not just to teens but to many adults as well.
Adrian resident Devyn Bice wants to give the growing ranks of YA fans a way to connect with some of their favorite authors — so he’s working with the Adrian Public Library to organize “ConTroll, YA,” a young adult literary conference that will take place this fall.
ConTroll, YA is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 18, from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Guest authors will include Aimee Carter, Courtney Allison Moulton, Kelly Barson, Leah Clifford, Bethany Neal, Eric Priuska, Scott Tracey and Kate Bassett.
In addition to author panels and book signings, Carter and Moulton will hold a writing workshop for aspiring authors. Carter is the author of several YA series, including “The Goddess Test” and “The Blackcoat Rebellion.” (One of her books, “The Goddess Inheritance,” picked up some celebrity publicity last year when Britney Spears was photographed holding it at her son’s soccer game.) Moulton is the author of the “Angelfire” trilogy, which consists of “Angelfire,” “Wings of the Wicked” and “Shadows in the Silence.”
Bice, who turns 24 this month, said the idea came from a similar event he co-founded in New York City. Several years ago, he attended a major publishing event in New York — one that he was able to attend for free as a member of the media, but that would have cost the average teenager somewhere around $500.
“I thought, ‘Why don’t I contact a lot of the young adult authors that are coming to an event like this and see if they’ll come to an event I put on at a library for free?'” he said.
The result, called the Teen Author Carnival, marked its sixth anniversary this year.
Wanting to do the same thing in his hometown, Bice approached Cathy Chesher, Adrian’s youth services librarian. She wrote a grant request to the Lenawee Youth Council, which agreed to contribute $1,000 toward the event, and is working with Bice and Monica Graham, the library’s teen coordinator, to organize it.
Because all of the authors attending the conference have their own fan bases, Chesher said, the event has the potential to draw from beyond the Adrian area.
“I’m excited about it,” she said. “It’s a unique opportunity, and if it goes well, it could be a continuing thing.”
The Lenawee Youth Council grant will help buy copies of the attending authors’ books and get them circulating in schools and other area libraries to help build excitement for the event.
And what about the name? Well, the “Con” stands for “conference,” the “Troll” comes from being “under the Bridge” on Michigan’s lower peninsula, and “YA,” of course, is short for “young adult.”
Bice, an Adrian Public Library patron since childhood, recalls that he was “awful when it came to reading” until being hooked by the “Harry Potter” series around fourth grade. He was homeschooled after being diagnosed with lupus at age 12, and began publishing online book reviews around 2008, which started him down the path of involvement in the YA literary scene.
Most of the authors are from the Michigan and Ohio area, and Bice said he wants fans of YA literature to know that authors are accessible.
“For the longest time I felt like I didn’t know a lot of authors in Michigan or Ohio,” he said.
And by meeting published YA authors face-to-face, he said, aspiring writers can hear an important message: “If you try hard enough, you can do it.”
For more information, go to ConTrollYA.tumblr.com, email email@example.com, or call the Adrian Public Library at 517-265-2265. You can also follow ConTroll, YA on Twitter at @ConTrollYA or on Facebook at facebook.com/ConTrollYA.