The Writing Show

Thursday, July 25, 2013


Pencil by Sheri Blume


Is YA your genre of choice, or are you considering it? One of the hottest markets in publishing, young adult fiction has specific challenges. What makes good YA and how is it different than adult fiction? Who better to ask than the target audience themselves—and an author and librarian who have successfully reached young adult readers?

James River Writer’s Writing Show for July 2013, Hearts and Minds: Exploring YA Fiction at the Source featured children’s librarian Lucinda Whitehurst and Lana Krumwiede, author of Freakling. Moderator Valley Haggard, founder of Richmond Young Writers, guided the discussion about what works, what doesn’t, and the trends and whether you should follow them.

The second half of the program highlighted a panel of teens, including some of JRW’s Youth Advisory Board members. Chico Payne, Cassie Womack, and Madeleine Jordon-Lord. The students talked about their pet peeves and what their favorite authors get right. Annesha Sengupta and Gbari Garrett read a few excerpts from their own work. The program concluded with questions from the audience.


LucindaWhitehurstforWebLucinda Whitehurst is the Lower School Librarian at St. Christopher’s School in Richmond.  She is an adjunct instructor for the UVA Richmond Center, teaching Children’s Literature.  She and her mother, a newspaper columnist and retired teacher, write a blog about kids and reading called The Open Book.  Whitehurst served on the American Library Association/ALSC’s 2010 Caldecott Award Committee and will be serving on the 2015 Newbery Award Committee.  Whitehurst, her husband, and their two children live in Richmond area.

LanaKrumwiedeforWebLana Krumwiede began her writing career by creating stories and poems for publications such as Highlights, High Five, Spider, Babybug, The Friend, and Chicken Soup for the Child’s Soul. Her first novel, Freakling (Candlewick, 2012), was named a finalist for SCBWI’s Crystal Kite Member’s Choice Award. It was also an honor book for the International Reading Association’s Intermediate Fiction Award. The story continues in the second book of The Psi Chronicles, Archon, (Candlewick, 2013). Lana lives in Richmond with her husband and daughter.

Young adult panelists and readers included Cassie WomackAnnesha Sengupta, Gbari Garrett, and two Richmond Public School students representing the Podium Foundation.


ValleyHaggardforWebValley Haggard is a freelance writer and creative writing teacher in the Richmond area. She teaches writing-from-life and creative nonfiction classes, retreats, and workshops across Virginia and founded Richmond Young Writers at Chop Suey Books in 2009. She served as Style Weekly’s Book Editor from 2004-2011. Haggard has a BA in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College and has served on the board of JRW.

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