Teen Literature Conference gives young writers opportunities

Students listen to authors, get tips on becoming better writers


Nolan Kelly

A Book Genie describes and recommends novels for a teenage reader. Teen Lit Con also displays a wall of sticky notes in the Exhibit Hall with readers’ favorite titles.

Kate Schneider

Junior Svea Bleske said high school students have little to no time to focus on writing due to the work and stress that comes along with school and the Teen Literature Conference is a way for students to set aside time.

“As a student, I haven’t been writing as much due to normal schoolwork and just the lack of time I have with my schedule. But it allowed me to back away from all the demands of school and life in general, and just have a fun time writing — which is something that I really enjoy,” Bleske said.

According to librarian Ellen George, the Teen Lit Con is an opportunity for young readers and writers alike to meet professionals in their field and learn from their experiences.

“The Teen Lit Conference is held every spring,” George said. “It’s a gathering where young adult authors show up and you can listen to them speak, and you can go to workshop sessions about how to write a book, how to publish a book, or maybe you just want to know the new young adult titles that are coming out this spring.”

George said there are also many other opportunities at the conference to better your writing and many of those are hands on.

“They have an exhibition hall in the gym where you can go just to hang out. You can talk to book genies who will give you ideas for the next book you might want to read,” George said. “It’s put on by a local library consortium that is there to support all of the libraries in the state.”

According to Bleske, when she went by herself last year, the other teens were friendly and she made friends quickly which added another aspect of fun to the day.

“When I went last year, there were several different authors. I went alone, kind of a spur of the moment decision, but I quickly made friends and we decided on what workshops we wanted to do and which authors we wanted to meet,” Bleske said.

George said the conference is meant for anyone who loves reading or writing and will be both fun and inspirational.

“If you love books, if you love reading, it’s just plain fun to be around other people who love reading and to get ideas about the process, new ideas for what to read next. It’s really an event for readers and people who are interested in writing themselves,” George said.

Bleske said meeting authors helped her realize authors are normal people too and can give very helpful tips on how to improve your writing to get to their level someday.

“(Authors are) celebrities but they’re not at the same time. It showed me that celebrities are normal people too and they make mistakes. A lot of the authors ran a workshop so we learned a lot from them and got a lot of tips from them,” Bleske said.

George said there will be another conference just like this past one next year and wants to get more students from park to attend. 

“I encourage people to look for information about the Teen Lit Con next spring and I am hoping to see more people there,” George said.