• (Young) Adult Readers

2019 Programs for Young Adults

Top-selling YA author readings and signings, movie screenings, virtual reality, and more!

Saturday, May 4 I Sunday, May 5

Saturday, May 4

Facing the World Through Fantasy: An Interview with Justina Ireland

Saturday, May 4, 11:00 AM, Florence Schwimley Little Theater
Justina Ireland interviewed by Alexandria Brown

“Zombies are a writer’s best friend,” said Justina Ireland, young adult fantasy fiction writer and author of the New York Times bestselling novel “Dread Nation.” The novel explores an alternate Civil War where zombie-slaying biracial teenager Jane McKeene gets caught in a conspiracy and finds herself in a desperate fight for her life. In conversation with author and YA librarian Alexandria Brown, Ireland unpacks how she employs planet-hopping Star Wars characters, half-god assassins, and more to dig into complex questions about capitalism, science, racism, and inequality.

I Am Home: Portraits of Immigrant Teenagers

Saturday, May 4, 12:30 PM, Word Power Stage
Lauren Markham, Rachel Neumann, and Oakland International High School students

Meet the young faces and voices behind the immigration debate. Featuring the portraits and stories of teenagers who are recent immigrants to the US from all over the world, “I Am Home” showcases the diversity, beauty, and potential of those who call the United States home. Join editor Rachel Neumann in conversation with Oakland International High School administrator Lauren Markham with performances by OIHS students sharing their thoughts on home and belonging.

Someone Like Me: Seeing Ourselves in the Books We Read

Saturday, May 4, 12:45 PM, Florence Schwimley Little Theater
Cindy Pon, Lee Wind, moderated by Riya Kataria

When you open a book, do you see yourself in its pages? Do the characters look or think like you? Cindy Pon fought hard to publish one of the first Young Adult fantasy novels with an Asian protagonist on the U.S. market. Lee Wind’s queer history book was canceled by the publisher for being too controversial, but he found a way to publish it anyway. The two dig into why kids (and adults) need diverse characters and how they fight against the bias and blindspots of the publishing world.

Literary Death Match

Saturday, May 4, 2:30 PM, Word Power Stage
Zoraida Córdova, Gordon Jack, Cindy Pon, Lee Wind, hosted by Adrian Todd Zuniga

Four authors. Three (teen) judges. Two finalists. One Champion (and all kinds of hilarity in between). Watch these young adult writers perform their most electric writing in five minutes or less as they compete for the coveted Literary Death Match crown. Hosted by series co-creator Adrian Todd Zuniga

Comic Collaboration Conversation

Saturday, May 4, 4:15 PM, Young Readers Stage
Ben Costa, James Parks

Author-illustrators and best friends since childhood, Ben Costa and James Parks take us through the tricks and challenges of collaborating on their walking, talking, singing, animated skeleton “Rickety Stitch”!

New Dimension: The Radical Power of Virtual Reality Storytelling

Saturday, May 4, 5:00 PM, Brower Center, Goldman Theater
Nathalie Mathé, Lakshmi Sarah, Kevin Tsukii, moderated by Siciliana Trevino

We are witnessing a revolution in storytelling. Publications all over the world are increasingly using immersive storytelling tools—virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality—to tell urgent and impactful stories. Examining ground-breaking work across industries, journalist and educator Lakshmi Sarah (“Crafting Stories For Virtual Reality”) illuminates how storytellers can create their own powerful immersive experiences that build worlds and shift consciousnesses. Join this group of VR creatives, writers, and changemakers for a conversation on the future of storytelling.

Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin: Film and Conversation

Saturday, May 4, 7:00 PM, Freight & Salvage
Arwen Curry, Annalee Newitz, Kim Stanley Robinson, David Streitfeld

“Resistance and change often begin in art. Very often in our art, the art of words,” said Ursula K. Le Guin in her courageous speech upon receiving the 2014 American National Book Foundation Medal. (She called for literary freedom and condemned unbridled capitalism.) Le Guin’s impact on literature can hardly be overstated. Our tribute to Le Guin, who died last year at 88, will start by screening the recent documentary about her life, “The Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin.” A conversation will follow with Arwen Curry, the filmmaker; Annalee Newitz, journalist and author most recently of the novel “Autonomous”; Kim Stanley Robinson, Le Guin’s friend and sci-fi legend; and David Streitfeld, reporter and author of the new compilation “Ursula K. Le Guin: The Last Interview and Other Conversations.”

Sunday, May 5

Fierce Femmes

Sunday, May 5, 11:00 AM, Florence Schwimley Little Theater
Zoraida Córdova, Anna-Marie McLemore, Cindy Pon, moderated by Yodassa Williams

No damsels in distress here! These powerful young women protagonists are almost as incredible as the writers who crafted them. Join Zoraida Córdova (“Bruja Born”), Anna Marie McLemore (“Blanca Y Roja”), and Cindy Pon (“Ruse”) for a discussion on how their characters use their brains and brujería to devise a way out of serious danger.

Poetry For The People

Sunday, May 5, 12:45 PM, Florence Schwimley Little Theater
Aya de Leon, and Yvonne Onakeme Etaghene

Get fired up and inspired at this special performance featuring current and former students of June Jordan’s Poetry For The People program at UC Berkeley. Founded by the late June Jordan in 1991, Poetry For The People (P4P) is an arts and activism program that bridges the gap between the university and the larger community. Featuring P4P director, spoken word poet and professor of African American studies Aya de Leon and poet-in-residence Yvonne Onakeme Etaghene.

Rattlesnake Wins Hummingbird’s Heart: A Word for Word Performance

Sunday, May 5, 1:30 PM, The Marsh, Theater
Greg Sarris and Native youth of Sonoma County

Experience indigenous legends the way they were passed down—through oral tradition. Word for Word Performing Arts Company is an ensemble whose mission is to tell great stories with elegant theatricality, staging performances of classic and contemporary fiction. Today’s performance features Native youth from Sonoma County presenting an adaptation of the story “Rattlesnake Wins Hummingbird’s Heart” from Greg Sarris’s collection “How a Mountain Was Made,” indigenous stories from Sonoma Mountain. How does a creature as lowly as Rattlesnake win the beautiful Hummingbird? What key does Rattlesnake possess? Come find out. Performance is 45 minutes, followed by discussion.

War Zone: Coming of Age in Times of Conflict

Sunday, May 5, 2:15 PM, Florence Schwimley Little Theater
Atia Abawi and e.E. Charlton-Trujillo, moderated by Lee Wind

What do you do when your world is suddenly turned upside down? Growing up is hard enough, but these teen protagonists must cope with loss and navigate violence completely out of their control. Atia Abawi’s “A Land of Permanent Goodbyes” follows Tareq, a kid forced to flee his home in war torn Syria. e.E. Charlton-Trujillo’s “Fat Angie: Rebel Girl Revolution” features Angie, a high school sophomore mourning the death of her sister in Iraq. The two writers will discuss how they write about teenage trauma and resilience, and why these tough-to-write stories are so valuable to readers who need to find hope within their pages.

Youth Power! With the International Congress of Youth Voices

Sunday, May 5, 4:00 PM, Florence Schwimley Little Theater
Jose Antonio Vargas

Global politics affect young people as much as anyone else, but they have little to no voice as major decisions are made. Join us for a discussion featuring noted journalist, filmmaker, author, and immigration rights activist Jose Antonio Vargas with youth delegates from the International Congress of Youth Voices. They’ll discuss mass incarceration, immigration, and the importance of youth voices in activism. Youth in the audience are encouraged to jump in!