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North Hills Monthly

Teen Book Festival Celebrating Second Year

Feb 29, 2020 10:53AM ● By Hilary Daninhirsch

Photo credits Richard D. Kelly

From March 27-28, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is bringing the second Bookish in the Burgh, Pittsburgh’s Teen Book Festival, back to Pittsburgh. The event, presented by Riverstone Books, will be held downtown in the Cultural District and will feature appearances by 35 authors of middle grade and young adult books.

At the festival, teens can sign up for writers’ workshops and panel discussions with authors, and various sessions will focus on topics including race representation in teen literature and LGBTQ representation. There will also be a book signing party.

Riverstone Books in McCandless will have a pop-up bookstore at the site where teens can purchase books. Books can also be ordered in advance of the festival and can be picked up at the festival or at the store.

The event is a labor of love for Kelsey Ford, senior programing manager for the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and creator and director of Bookish in the Burgh. There hadn’t been anything like this in the region before, according to Ford, because authors of teen literature didn’t often stop in Pittsburgh.

“I am a writer and a huge fan of teen literature and passionate about serving this audience,” she explained, adding that she plans the festival with a group of teen ambassadors. “I wanted to create a book festival that would be a hub to celebrate a love of books where teens could meet their peers.”

Ford, who reads between 150-200 teen books a year, said that she had a dream list of authors to bring in to the festival, and she also consulted with the ambassadors. “I really want to have a mix of genres and backgrounds and make sure that the lineup is inclusive of and representative of as many of the area’s teens as possible,” she said.

Representative authors include Tiffany Jewell (This Book is Anti-Racist); Mark Oshiro (Anger is a Gift); Adrienne Young (Sky in the Deep); Claire Kann (Let’s Talk About Love) and Pittsburgh residents Rachael Lippincott (Five Feet Apart) and Jim Rugg (The Plain Janes).

Last year, Riverstone held a dinner for some of the participating authors and wanted to get more involved this year. “For Riverstone, a large component of our purpose is to promote reading, literacy and empathy in our younger readers, and this is a perfect fit with our mission,” said owner Barbara Jeremiah.

The event is free, but preregistration is required. Visit https://www.trustarts.org/pct_home/events/festivals/bookish-in-the-burgh for more information.