Craft on Draft: Why YA?

Join our expert panel as they discuss why they chose to write young adult fiction. And what makes a book Young Adult or Middle Grade, anyway? Are some projects best told from a Young Adult/Middle Grade perspective?

Free and open to the public, mingle with new and seasoned writers trying to figure out their audience. The discussion will cover topics such as how you know you're writing YA, what are the pros and cons about storytelling for a younger audience, and how the author’s own life and experiences informed their work.


See you there! Food and Drink will be available to order through our cafe!


Desmond Hall, Better Must Come

Desmond Hall was born in Jamaica, West Indies, and moved to Jamaica, Queens. He’s worked as a high school biology and English teacher in East New York, Brooklyn; counseled teenage ex-cons after their release from Rikers Island; and served as Spike Lee’s creative director at Spike DDB. Desmond has served on the board of the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and the Advertising Council and judged the One Show, the American Advertising Awards, and the NYC Downtown Short Film Festival. He’s also been named one of Variety magazine’s Top 50 Creatives to Watch. His previous novel is Your Corner Dark. Desmond lives outside of Boston with his wife and two daughters.


Kasey LeBlanc, Flyboy

Kasey LeBlanc was an Alice Hoffman fellow with GrubStreet’s Novel Incubator program and a finalist for the Boston Public Library Writer-in-Residence program. He’s since been published by WBURCognoscenti, Writer Unboxed, and Them. When not writing, he can be found learning to unicycle and mourning the loss of Boston’s only flying trapeze school. Visit him online at


Patricia Park, What’s Eating Jackie Oh?

Patricia Park is a tenured professor of creative writing at American University, a Fulbright Scholar in Creative Arts, and a Jerome Hill Artist Fellow. Her debut YA novel, Imposter Syndrome and Other Confessions of Alejandra Kim, received starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews and School Library Journal and was an NPR Book of the Day. Patricia’s newest novel, What’s Eating Jackie Oh? is inspired by her love of watching competitive TV cooking shows and creating somewhat edible meals from leftovers. It was also inspired by Patricia’s New York Times op-ed, “I’m Done Being Your Model Minority.” Patricia’s writing has also appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times, the GuardianSalon, and others. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.


Moderated by Jennie Wood, Paper Planes

Jennie’s latest graphic novel, Paper Planes, was published in 2023 by Maverick, Mad Cave Studios’ young adult imprint. The book is the story of two inseparable grade school friends sent to a summer camp for troubled kids in the aftermath of a tragic event that threatens their friendship. Paper Planes is the 2023 Next Generation Indie Book Award winner for Young Adult Fiction (12 – 16 years) and the 2023 IPPY Award Bronze Medal winner in Young Adult Fiction – General Category.

Event date: 
Thursday, June 27, 2024 - 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Event address: 
338 Newbury Street
Boston, MA 02115
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