Intelligent and searching, original and impassioned, lit from within and motivated by a desire to start a conversation about it means to be alive, to choose, to yearn, to be different, to take a stand, to get along, and to hope, the best books written for middle grade and young adult readers are, most assuredly, “big” books, the kind that live with readers long after the last pages have been read and the books slipped back onto the shelf. In this intensive (and fun) reading and writing workshop, we’ll learn from the likes of R.J. Palacio, Cece Bell, Jacqueline Woodson, Thanhha Lai, David Levithan, Sharon Creech, Ruta Sepetys, and Jason Reynolds. We’ll study the development of characters (and character), the creation of setting, the power of talk, and the secrets of narrative risk. We’ll produce a number of short pieces in a range of forms (including verse novels, multiple perspective novels, and graphic novels/memoirs) before completing a final project of 3,500 words. We’ll have the opportunity to meet and talk with mega YA star Nova Ren Suma.