Centering Black Voices

Tweens Read Keynote Speaker Varian Johnson on Building Plots—and Bridges

Texas author Varian Johnson has a gift for plot. His fast-paced, hilarious books shine with tight writing, clever dialogue, and lovable characters—none moreso than his latest novel, The Parker Inheritance, a smart and socially-conscious mystery that's a ton of fun to read. (It also earned enough starred reviews to form a small constellation.)

We can't wait to welcome Varian to our Tweens Read festival on October 13, where he'll deliver the morning keynote address. After that, he'll be joined by over 25 other wonderful authors, including #1 New York Times bestselling author Victoria Schwab, New York Times bestselling author Margaret Peterson Haddix, and National Book Award winner and New York Times bestselling author Jeanne Birdsall. (For the full lineup, click here.) It's going to be a wonderful event, full of author panels and autographs. Check out our Q&A with Varian, then make plans to meet us at South Houston High School for the big day.

Meet Jasmine Guillory, Author of the Year's Most Charming Debut

Jasmine Guillory by Andrea Scher

It's tough to escape stereotypes. Not too long ago, if somebody handed you a romance noel, you'd probably expect steamy scenes with a lot of tartan torn to shreds. At the very least, a pirate or two, or the hero getting called a "rake." That was before Jasmine Guillory, a Stanford-Law-grad-romance-novelist who's responsible for The Wedding Date, one of the most highly-anticipated books of the year. 

Meet Liara Tamani, An Exciting New Voice in YA Lit

Get used to hearing the name Liara Tamani. The Houston author is poised to grab her share of literary headlines when her debut novel, Calling My Name, is released later this month. It's a beautiful, thoughtful story about a young girl discovering her identity, and Tamani's prose ebbs and flows with the grace and subtlety of poetry. The book is already earning critical raves, netting comparisons to the work of Naomi Shihab Nye, Sandra Cisneros, and Sharon Creech, among others. 

We were fortunate enough to catch up with Liara for a Q&A. Read on to learn her thoughts on inspiration, diversity in teen lit, and how it felt to see her book's cover for the first time.

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