Tulsa Day of YA: Authors, Writing Workshops, and More!


Tulsa Day of YA celebrates young adult literature and those who love it by bringing together authors, fans, and aspiring writers through workshops, panel sessions, and academic discussion on Saturday, February 22, 2020, with a special opening keynote event the night before, Friday, February 21. Events will be held at Rudisill Regional Library, 1520 N Hartford, Tulsa, OK 74106.

Friday night, February 21, Justina Ireland and Juliana Goodman will speak in the Tulsa Day of YA keynote event at Rudisill Regional Library, 1520 N Hartford. This event will begin at 7:00PM.

To attend the free Saturday conference, you must register in advance (you do not need to register for the opening keynote on Friday night.) Lunch will be provided on site. If specific accommodations/assistance are required or would improve your experience at Tulsa Day of YA events, please reach out to Teen Services Coordinator Leah Weyand at leah.weyand@tulsalibrary.org or 918-549-7490.

Please find more details below - and if you have questions, contact Leah Weyand at leah.weyand@tulsalibrary.org or 918-549-7490. 


More Details

Authors and Guests


Justina Ireland

Justina Ireland is the author of Dread Nation (Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins), a New York Times bestseller in hardcover young adult fiction, the middle-grade novel Star Wars, Flight of the Falcon: Lando’s Luck (Lucasfilm Books), the fantasy young adult novels Vengeance Bound and Promise of Shadows (both Simon and Schuster), and Scream Site (Capstone Editions), a middle-grade thriller. She is also the author of the books in the middle-grade fantasy Devils’ Pass series, including Evie Allen vs. the Quiz Bowl Zombies and Zach Lopez vs. the Unicorns of Doom. Her short science fiction and fantasy stories have appeared in the anthologies Feral Youth (Simon and Schuster) and Three Sides of a Heart (HarperCollins).

She is the former co-editor in chief of FIYAH Literary Magazine of Black Speculative Fiction, for which she won a World Fantasy Award. She holds a B.A. from Armstrong Atlantic University and an M.F.A. from Hamline University. 

Cindy Pon

Cindy Pon is the co-founder of Diversity in YA with Malinda Lo and part of the We Need Diverse Books advisory board. She has written several young adult novels, including Silver Phoenix and Fury of the Phoenix (Greenwillow Books), Serpentine and Sacrifice (Month9Books), and Want and Ruse (Simon Pulse). She is also an accomplished brush artist.

Ally Carter

Ally Carter is a prolific and bestselling author of young adult books including the Gallagher Girls series, the Heist Society series, the Embassy Row series, and standalone works such as Not If I See You First and Dear Ally, How Do You Write A Book? Born and raised in Oklahoma, Ally considers herself one of the luckiest people in the world. She is able to do the job she wanted to do when she was a kid, and today she's back living in Oklahoma.

Sonia Gensler

Sonia Gensler is the award-winning author of GhostlightThe Dark Between, and The Revenant, all from Alfred A. Knopf/Random House Kids. Weird and dreamy from birth, Sonia grew up in a small Tennessee town and ran with a dangerous pack of band and drama geeks. As an adult she experimented with a variety of impractical professions—museum interpreter, historic home director, bookseller, and perpetual graduate student—before finally deciding to share her passion for stories through teaching. Sonia taught literature and writing to young adults for ten years and still thinks fondly of her days in the classroom. She currently lives in Oklahoma with her husband and cat.

M. Molly Backes

M. Molly Backes is the author of the young adult novel The Princesses of Iowa (Candlewick Press, 2012), which was named Chicago Public Library’s Best of the Best Fiction for Teens (2013), Forever Young Adult’s Best YA Books of 2012, and was a finalist on NPR.org’s Best-Ever Teen Novels list in 2012. Her work has appeared in The Prairie Wind, Human Parts, The Rumpus, and the anthology Good Dogs Doing Good. She has performed her personal essays at reading series including Essay Fiesta, Funny Ha-Ha, Is This a Thing? and Sunday Salon, and is a frequent guest at writing conferences and festivals across the country. An accomplished teacher, she has run creative writing workshops for adults and teens across the Midwest. Molly was awarded a 2019 Tulsa Artist Fellowship.

Juliana Goodman

Juliana Goodman was born and raised in Blue Island, Illinois. She received her B.A. in English Literature from Western Illinois University in 2014 and her M.F.A. in Fiction Writing in 2017 from Indiana. Juliana has received several awards and scholarships for her writing and was a 2014 Jack Kent Cooke Graduate Arts Award Finalist. She’s had work published in Sigma Tau Delta’s Rectangle, Blackberry: a Magazine and Fiyah Literary Magazine. In her free time, Juliana enjoys watching horror films, reading the latest young adult novels, and hanging out with her pit bull, Artie Partie. Juliana was awarded a 2019 Tulsa Artist Fellowship.

Academic Panel Guests

Rebecca Richardson Mouser

Rebecca Richardson Mouser is Assistant Professor of English at Missouri Southern State University. She is a specialist in pre-Conquest English literature, trained in oral traditions, with research interests in oral-traditional crossovers from Old English to Middle English romance. Her most recent publication, “Teaching Oral Tradition through Medieval Materiality,” appeared in Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Teaching in the fall of 2018.

Sarah Robbins

Sarah Robbins is a Senior literary studies major at Missouri Southern State University. She is the president of MSSU’s chapter of Sigma Tau Delta International English Honor Society and an editor of the university’s literary magazine, bordertown. Her essays have been featured in Carte Blanche and Allegory Ridge, and she has a lyric essay forthcoming in Thin Air. She spends her free time fashion blogging, dying her hair pink, and watching reruns of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown.

Carley Petersen Durden

Carley Petersen Durden has taught writing for nine years. Her research interests include gender and identity, media frame narratives, and equity in the writing classroom. She currently teaches composition at Missouri Southern State University.

Amy Pezzelle

Amy Pezzelle is a doctoral candidate in English and a Bellwether Fellow at the University of Tulsa. She is writing her dissertation on contemporary Native American literature and also researches and writes about Indigenous and African futurism and YA.

Lily McCully

Lily McCully is a doctoral student in English at the University of Tulsa. Her dissertation focuses on the influence of legal cases on eighteenth-century British literature. She also researches and writes about issues related to contemporary gender theory and is currently serving as Book Review Editor for Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature.


Tulsa Day of YA is sponsored by the Tulsa City-County Library, the Tulsa Library Trust, Nimrod International Journal, and Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature.

Nimrod International Journal

Nimrod International Journal is a literary journal published twice a year by the University of Tulsa. Nimrod publishes poetry and short fiction and creative nonfiction, with a focus in its mission on the discovery and promotion of new writers. In addition to publishing the journal, Nimrod offers literary programming in Tulsa throughout the year, including its Conference for Readers and Writers each October. To learn more about Nimrod, visit https://artsandsciences.utulsa.edu/nimrod/.

Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature

Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature, the first journal devoted solely to women’s literature, has been published by the University of Tulsa since 1982. Tulsa Studies publishes groundbreaking articles, notes, research, and reviews of literary, historicist, and theoretical work by established and emerging scholars in the field of women’s literature and feminist theory. From its founding, Tulsa Studies has been devoted to the study of both literary and nonliterary texts—any and all works in every language and every historical period produced by women’s pens.  For more information, visit https://tswl.utulsa.edu/.

Tulsa City-County Library

The Tulsa City-County Library strives to promote lifelong learning and literacy in all forms.  Learn more about the goals, vision, and core values of the Library here: https://www.tulsalibrary.org/about.

Tulsa Library Trust

The mission of the Tulsa Library Trust is to increase the Tulsa City-County Library’s capacity to provide the highest quality programs and services to citizens for lifelong learning. Learn more at https://tulsalibrarytrust.org/.

Schedule for Day of YA

Friday, February 21, 2020

Tulsa Day of YA Keynote Event: Justina Ireland in Conversation with Juliana Goodman

Join us at Rudisill Regional Library (1520 N Hartford) for the opening event to Tulsa Day of YA, where bestselling Young Adult author Justina Ireland (Dread Nation) will be in conversation with Tulsa Artist Fellow Juliana Goodman. A book signing will follow, with books available for sale on site via Magic City Books. 

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Join us at Rudisill Regional Library (1520 N Hartford) for Saturday's Day of YA conference!

9:30am - 10:30am | Opening Session

Women in YA: A Panel Discussion (Ancestral Hall)

The Day of YA committee will welcome guests and attendees, and our author guests will discuss women in young adult literature: authors, characters, and broader connections.

Speakers: M. Molly Backes, Ally Carter (moderator), Sonia Gensler, Juliana Goodman, Justina Ireland, Cindy Pon

10:45am - 12:15pm | Session Block 1

Writing Workshop: Storytelling Fundamentals (Library Hall)

Justina Ireland will teach attendees about storytelling fundamentals. This workshop is open to all attendees.

Speaker: Justina Ireland

Writing Workshop: Who Is Your Narrator? The Importance of Point of View (Children's Area inside library)

Cindy Pon will teach attendees about writing narrators and point of view. This workshop is open to teens only. 

Speaker: Cindy Pon

Women Writers Challenging Myths: Panel Discussion on Sandra Cisneros’s The House on Mango Street (Ancestral Hall)

Through the lens of Cisneros’ “The Monkey Garden,” this panel will explore how women writers have resisted essentialist views of gender and identity by re-visioning old texts.

Speakers: Rebecca Richardson Mouser, Sarah Robbins, Carley Petersen Durden

12:15pm - 1:30pm | Lunch Break

Lunch will be provided on site, but attendees are also free to leave and come back.

1:30pm - 2:45pm | Session Block 2

Ask Me Anything: Publishing (Ancestral Hall)

Bestselling authors discuss the publishing industry and answer audience questions.

Speakers: Ally Carter, Justina Ireland

Character Building: Craft Talk and Q & A (Library Hall)

Learn about the craft aspect of building characters in writing - ask authors Sonia and Molly.

Speakers: M. Molly Backes, Sonia Gensler

Who Is She?: Panel Discussion on Identity in YA (Children's Area inside library)

Scholars discuss identity in young adult literature; YA authors respond.

Speakers: Lily McCully and Amy Pezzelle, with Juliana Goodman and Cindy Pon

3:00pm - 3:30pm | Closing Session (Ancestral Hall)

Game time! Authors and librarians (with the help of the audience!) will compete for fun and glory.

3:45pm - 4:45pm | Book Signing (Ancestral Hall)

Books will be for sale at the Magic City Books booth on site; a book signing with authors will take place during this block.


Who can come to the event?

Tulsa Day of YA is for all lovers of Young Adult literature!  Teens and adults are welcome. The event is designed to accommodate writers and readers from all backgrounds and publication histories, including those who are just starting out. Registration is required - register here.

Is there a fee to attend? Do I need to register?

Tulsa Day of YA is free and open to the public, but we are asking people to register ahead of time to reserve their spots and to give us a head count for lunch. Click here to register.

What is the schedule of events?

Check out the schedule of events above.

Where is the event being held? Where can I park?

Tulsa Day of YA is being held at Tulsa City-County’s Rudisill Regional Library at 1520 N Hartford, Tulsa OK 74106. Parking is free in the library's parking lots opposite the main entrance.



What should I bring?

We recommend that you bring a notebook and a writing utensil, as many workshops will offer writing exercises. 

Will lunch be provided? What if I have dietary restrictions?

Lunch on Saturday will be provided, and you will have an opportunity when you register to indicate if you need a vegan or gluten-free option, or other accommodations. Click here to register.

There are also restaurant options in the area around the library.

Is wifi available?

The library has free wifi. 

Is the facility accessible?

The Tulsa Day of YA events are held at Rudisill Regional Library - the facility is accessible. 

I am a school librarian or educator, and I want to bring my class. What do I need to do?

We are very excited to have you and your class attend! Call Leah at 918-549-7490, or email her at Leah.Weyand@tulsalibrary.org so we can make sure to get all your students registered.