2020 FESTIVAL SCHEDULE
Saturday, May 2, 2020
North Independence Branch
LitUp is an all-day event to bring Kansas City-area teens and bestselling authors, screenwriters, poets, and artists together in conversation. LitUp will include keynote presentations, writing and illustrating workshops, a poetry slam, refreshments, panel discussions, fun activities, and book signings!
You can register for the morning session, afternoon session, or both! Each session will include a keynote presentation, book signing, and your choice of panel discussions. You may also register for one of four afternoon workshops prior to the poetry slam. Registration includes a LitUp swag bag with cool gifts, and the chance to win signed books by the LitUp authors during drawings to be held throughout the day.
THE LINEUP, 2020
Meet Our Amazing Authors & Artists
Bestselling author Louis Sachar has written twenty-five books for children and young adults, including the Wayside School series and the novel Holes, which won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature and the Newberry Medal. Both the Wayside School series and Holes have been adapted for the big screen.
Nic Stone is best known for her New York Times bestseller Dear Martin, which chronicles the story of a high school senior who begins writing letters to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. after an encounter with racist police officers. Stone’s work has been translated into six different languages. Clean Getaway, Stone’s most recent book was released this year.
Jasmine Ali is a freelance illustrator and graphic designer from Kansas City, Missouri. Ali received her BFA in Graphic Design from Missouri Western State University and enjoys working with different medias and integrating them into her design work. Her focus is in packaging design, fine art, illustration, and web design.
Marc Aronson is a professor, speaker, editor, publisher, historian, and author for all ages. He writes a monthly column for School Library Journal and was awarded the Robert F. Sibert Award for his book Sir Walter Ralegh and the Quest for El Dorado. Aronson’s books have been selected for the New York Times Notable Book Award and the School Library Journal best book award.
Wendy Chen is the author of Unearthings and the recipient of the Academy of American Poets Most Promising Young Poet Prize and fellowships from the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts and the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund. Chen is currently co-founder and editor for Figure 1, an online poetry journal featuring new and underrepresented voices.
J.T. Daniels is a Kansas City-based muralist, who uses his work to support the community and bring people together. His art can be seen all over Kansas City, with some of his best-known murals being displayed inside Whole Foods and on the outside wall of Betty Rae’s. Daniels also designed the label for Brisk Lemon Iced Tea.
Huascar Medina is a poet, writer, performer, and the Literary Editor for seveneightfive magazine. Medina’s poetry collection, How to Hang the Moon, received the 2018 Topeka ArtsConnect Arty Award for Literature, and his play “Theodore’s Love” was chosen for Ad Astra Theatre Ensemble’s 2018 Homegrown Playwright Project.
Beth Snider is an artist and illustrator who works in watercolor and acrylic on canvas. She has illustrated six children’s books, including Do You like Peas?, Mom Left Dirty Dishes in the Sink, and Anxious Abby and the Camp Trust Challenge. Snider also paints wall murals and teaches art classes and workshops for kids and adults.
Deborah Heiligman has written 31 books, including Charles and Emma: The Darwin’s Leap of Faith, which was a National Book Award finalist and a New York Times Editor’s Choice. Her newest book, Torpedoed, is a 2020 YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adult Award Finalist and winner of the SCBWI’s Golden Kite Award for Nonfiction for Older Readers.
Aminah Mae Safi
Aminah Mae Safi is a Muslim-American writer whose novels focus mainly on feminism and LGBT+ romance. Safi is the winner of the We Need Diverse Books short story contest, and she has written two novels: Not the Girls You’re Looking For and Tell Me How You Really Feel. Her third novel, This Is All Your Fault, is coming out June 9th of this year.
Joy Jones is a trainer, performance poet, playwright, and author. Her book Tambourine Moon was selected as one of the best books for children by the black caucus of the ALA and featured on the Bernie Mac Show. Jones has won awards from the D.C. Commission on the Arts & Humanities and the Colonial Players Promising Playwrights Competition.
Aisha Sharif is a Cave Canem Fellow whose poetry has appeared
in Rattle, Callaloo, Crab Orchard Review, and Calyx. Her debut collection of poems,
To Keep From Undressing, explores how racial, gender, and religious identities align, separate, and blend. Sharif currently teaches English at
Metropolitan Community College in Kansas City, Missouri.
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