On September 22 members of Lincoln Academy’s Library team traveled with school librarians Cathi Howell and Jennifer Betts to the Seventh Annual Boston Teen Author Festival, which was held at the Cambridge Public Library and Cambridge Rindge and Latin School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The Festival featured Authors 32 notable or rising young adult authors including Holly Black, Mark Oshiro, Britta Lundin, Claire Legrand, and Nova Ren Suma.

The eight students and two librarians traveled to Cambridge by bus, departing in the early morning to arrive for the start of the festival. The program opened with an introductory panel discussion all 32 authors assembled on the stage of the Cambridge Rindge Latin School auditorium. After introductions of authors and their recent books, moderators gave the authors some quick prompts to respond to, including “if you could spend the day with your main character, what would you do together?”  

“It was fun to hear the authors talk about their books and characters in this way and it gave us a quick glimpse into each author’s personality,” said LA Librarian Cathi Howell.

The day was organized into four sessions, and participants could choose between four different panel discussion presentations to attend during each session. Each panel discussion featured four authors and was focused on a specific theme. Session topics included, “Sorry Not Sorry: are these female characters truly ‘unlikeable’, or are they just unapologetically ambitious? And why do we equate the two?”; “Puppet Strings: the delicate balance of writing lies, half-truths, double-meanings, and implications to manipulate not only the characters, but the readers, too”; and “The Publishing Journey: Debut and veteran authors discuss the ins and outs of their journeys to publication, what they’ve learned, and what they wish they knew.”

“Learning about what motivates and inspires authors to create was really interesting,” said Lincoln Academy junior Anna Drake, who serves at one of the student leaders of the LA Library Team. “It’s super cool to see the person behind the piece of literature.”

Books written by featured authors were available for sale throughout the day and, an open book signing session was held at the end of the festival so participants could have their books signed by favorite authors.

Howell hopes to make this trip an annual tradition. “It was an amazing experience for us as librarians and for our students… we loved seeing the excitement in our students throughout the day. To hear them talk about new authors and books that they couldn’t wait to read was pretty exciting. For me, this was an excellent opportunity to preview a lot of YA authors all in one place.”

“It gave me a new perspective on reading and writing,” said ninth grader Julia Palmer. “You got to see the thought process that helps authors create a good story.”