Virtual YA-hoo Fest 2020: Sept. 14-17

September 8, 2020 | Laura Matravers and Andrea Sanders | Internal Press Release

ya-hoo fest

The Chattanooga State Humanities Department’s Writers@Work program, in partnership with the Southern Lit Alliance, is excited to present the third annual YA-hoo Fest, Chattanooga’s only Young Adult book festival, on September 14-17, 2020. The festival will feature twenty-five well-known Young Adult literature authors who will share their insights and expertise in virtual panel sessions hosted on the popular video conferencing software Zoom. All events are free, but registration is required through our Eventbrite links at

This year, in addition to welcoming the broader community, YA-hoo Fest has partnered with Hamilton County Schools to invite area high school students and their teachers to a front-row seat as their favorite authors discuss the social issues and historical underpinnings of their novels. Along with a robust schedule of virtual events, YA-hoo Fest will offer book sales and door prizes to participants in celebration of Young Adult literature, the authors who write it, and the readers who love it.

The festival kicks off on Monday, September 14, with an interactive live recording of the award-winning podcast Hey YA!, with hosts and YA authors Kelly Jensen and Eric Smith. Join Kelly and Eric as they interview a special guest author who is participating in the festival. YA-hoo’s main events start on Tuesday, September 15, and continue on Wednesday, September 16, and Thursday, September 17, as the Fest presents two author panel sessions each day at 12pm and 7pm. These sessions will highlight intimate interviews and discussions with YA authors as they give in-depth insight into their lives, their creative processes, and their goals as writers. Four to five authors will participate in each panel, and each panel will offer a unique lineup. During the virtual events, attendees will be eligible for fun door prizes and will be able to purchase books by all twenty-five authors through our online festival bookstore.

Schedule of Authors & Events

  • Monday, September 14, 4 p.m. - Live Recording of Hey YA! Podcast - Hosts: Kelly Jensen and Eric Smith
  • Tuesday, September 15, 12 p.m. - Craft Talk: Writing Relationships & Romance - Panelists: Lindsey Duga, Sara Faring, Kit Frick, Claire Legrand, Justin Reynolds
  • Tuesday, September 15, 7 p.m. - Genre Talk: Modern Fiction - Panelists: James Brandon, Helene Dunbar, Debbie Rigaud, Jeff Zentner
  • Wednesday, September 16, 12 p.m. - Genre Talk: Historical Fiction - Panelists: Kathleen Burkinshaw, J. Kasper Kramer, Vicky Alvear Shecter, Amy Trueblood
  • Wednesday, September 16, 7 p.m. - Craft Talk: The Publishing Journey - Panelists: Anna Birch, Shannon Greenland, Randy Ribay, Eric Smith
  • Thursday, September 17, 12 p.m. - Craft Talk: Writing Difficult Topics - Panelists: Rocky Callen, Greg Howard, Kelly Jensen, Natalie Richards
  • Thursday, September 17, 7 p.m. - Genre Talk: Fantasy Fiction - Panelists: Ryan La Sala, Linsey Miller, Claribel Ortega, Hannah Rials

Books sales and signings will be available online through our partners at Follett.

Don’t miss YA-hoo Fest 2020! Register now using our Eventbrite link at

For more information about YA-hoo Fest, please visit or contact Joel Henderson at 423.697.4403 or To become a sponsor of the festival, contact Lynda LeVan at 423.267.6718.

Like us on Facebook @YAhooFestChatt and follow us on Instagram at @yahoo.fest and on Twitter at @YAhooFestival.

Writers@Work was founded in 2011 by the Chattanooga State Community College Humanities Department to enhance the practice of literary analysis in its Composition 2 classes through the reading of a common text with a focus on Southerners and their culture. It has become an annual arts experience that touches the lives of countless people in the greater Chattanooga area by providing opportunities for the public to interact with visiting authors at free events. Past W@W authors include Terry Kay, Ishmael Reed, Jill McCorkle, Rick Bragg, Lila Quintero Weaver, Ron Rash, Robert Morgan, Tayari Jones, George Singleton, Tom Franklin, and Beth Ann Fennelly. Now in its ninth year, W@W is proud to welcome Daniel Wallace in 2020 and looks forward to welcoming Jericho Brown in 2021.

Southern Lit Alliance is a longstanding, non-profit, literary arts organization in Chattanooga founded in 1952 to connect individuals with the uplifting power of literary arts and to encourage the next generation to be passionate readers and reap the benefits of all it has to offer. Find out more about Southern Lit Alliance at