YA Workshop

2022 YA Workshop

January 27-31, 2022
Applications Are Currently Closed
2022 Faculty

Candice Iloh

Candice Iloh is a National Book Award Finalist and a Michael L. Printz Award honoree. They are a first-generation Nigerian-American writer and dancer from the Midwest by way of Washington, DC, and Brooklyn, New York. They are a proud graduate of Howard University and an alumna of Rhode Island Writers Colony. They received their MFA in Creative Writing for Young People at Lesley University. Their work has earned fellowships from Lambda Literary, VONA, Kimbilio Fiction, and a residency with Hi-ARTS, where they debuted their first one-person show. They live in Philadelphia. Every Body Looking is their first novel.

Leah Johnson

Leah Johnson is an eternal midwesterner and author of award-winning books for children and young adults. Her bestselling debut YA novel, You Should See Me in a Crown, was a Stonewall Honor Book, the inaugural Reese's Book Club YA pick, and in 2021, TIME magazine named it one of the 100 Best Young Adult Books of All Time. Leah's essays and cultural criticism can be found in Teen Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, and Cosmopolitan among others. Her debut middle grade, Ellie Engle Saves Herself is forthcoming from Disney-Hyperion in 2023.

Nina LaCour

Nina LaCour is the bestselling and Michael L. Printz Award-winning author of five critically acclaimed YA novels including We Are Okay, Watch Over Me, and Hold Still. She is also the co-author of You Know Me Well, a novel written in collaboration with David Levithan, and a contributor to numerous anthologies. Her first novel for adults, Yerba Buena, and her first picture book, Mama and Mommy and Me in the Middle, are forthcoming in 2022. She has taught, guest lectured, and appeared at conferences and conventions all around the country and internationally. Her novels have been Junior Library Guild selections, ALA Best Books for Young Adults, and have been named among the best books of the year by the Boston Globe, Seventeen, Booklist, Bustle, Publishers Weekly, and the New York Public Library among others. Nina won the 2009 Northern California Book Award for Children’s Literature, was featured in Publishers Weekly as a Flying Starts Author, and has had her novels translated into over a dozen languages. She lives in San Francisco with her wife and daughter.

Cory McCarthy

Cory McCarthy is the acclaimed author of over half a dozen books. Highlights include genre thriller Breaking Sky and the romcom Now a Major Motion Picture, which appeared on the Amelia Bloomer List. Cory coauthored the bestselling Once & Future series, a finalist for the New England Book Award, with their spouse, A. R. Capetta. Cory's upcoming works include a picture book about fellow Arab American Kahlil Gibran, a sci-fi middle grade trilogy, and Man O' War, a personal tale about a trans swimmer. Cory studied poetry and screenwriting before falling in love with writing for young people and now teaches at Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Emily X.R. Pan

Emily X.R. Pan is the New York Times bestselling author of THE ASTONISHING COLOR OF AFTER, which won the APALA Honor Award and the Walter Honor Award, and received six starred reviews. It was also an L.A. Times Book Prize finalist, longlisted for the Carnegie Medal, and featured on over a dozen best-of-the-year lists, among other accolades. NBC News called the novel “moving and poetic” and BuzzFeed named it as one of the best books of the decade. Emily co-created the FORESHADOW anthology and teaches creative writing at New York University and other institutions. She lives on Lenape land (in Brooklyn, New York), but was originally born in the Midwestern United States to immigrant parents from Taiwan. Her next novel, AN ARROW TO THE MOON, will be published by Little, Brown in April 2022. Visit Emily online at exrpan.com, and find her on Twitter and Instagram: @exrpan.

Lilliam Rivera

Lilliam Rivera  is an award-winning writer and author of young adult novels We Light Up The SkyNever Look Back, a Pura Belpré Honor book; Dealing in Dreams, and The Education of Margot Sanchez, as well as the Goldie Vance series for middle-grade readers and the graphic novel, Unearthed: A Jessica Cruz Story. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, the New York Times, and Elle, to name a few. Lilliam lives in Los Angeles.

Mason Deaver

Mason Deaver is a nonbinary author and librarian from a small town in North Carolina where the word "y'all" is used in abundance. They are the author of  I Wish You All the Best, which was named one of the Best Books of 2019 by—Indigo, Autostraddle, Bitch Media, Book Riot, & Buzzfeed, and the forthcoming novel The Ghosts We Keep.

Natalia Sylvester

Natalia Sylvester is the award-winning author of several novels for adults and young adults. CHASING THE SUN was named the Best Debut Book of 2014 by Latinidad and EVERYONE KNOWS YOU GO HOME won an International Latino Book Award and the 2018 Jesse H. Jones Award for Best Work of Fiction from the Texas Institute of Letters. Natalia's debut YA novel, RUNNING, was a 2020 Junior Library Guild Selection, and her next novel for young adults, BREATHE AND COUNT BACK FROM TEN, is forthcoming in May 2022 from Clarion Books/HarperCollins. A MALETA FULL OF TREASURES, Natalia's first picture book (illustrated by Juana Medina), will be published by Dial Books in 2024. Natalia's non-fiction has appeared in the New York Times, Bustle, Catapult, Electric Literature, Latina magazine, and McSweeney's Publishing. Her essays have been anthologized in collections such as A MAP IS ONLY ONE STORY and A MEASURE OF BELONGING: WRITERS OF COLOR ON THE NEW AMERICAN SOUTH. Born in Lima, Peru, Natalia came to the US at age four and grew up in Florida and the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. She received a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Miami, was a 2021 Visiting Associate Professor at the University of Texas at Austin, and was formerly a faculty member at the Mile-High MFA program at Regis University.


Patrice Caldwell

Patrice Caldwell is a graduate of Wellesley College and the founder of People of Color in Publishing–a grassroots organization dedicated to supporting, empowering, and uplifting racially and ethnically marginalized members of the book publishing industry. Born and raised in Texas, Patrice was a children’s book editor before becoming a literary agent.

She’s been named to Forbes’ “30 Under 30” media list, a Publishers Weekly Star Watch honoree, and featured on Bustle’s inaugural “Lit List” as one of ten women changing the book world.

Patrice’s debut novel, Where Shadows Reign—the first in a YA fantasy duology—is out September 2022 from Wednesday Books/Macmillan. She is also the editor of A Phoenix First Must Burn, 16 stories of Black Girl Magic, Resistance, and Hope (out now) and Eternally Yours, a YA Paranormal Romance anthology out in Fall 2022. Visit Patrice online at patricecaldwell.com, Twitter @whimsicallyours, and Instagram @whimsicalaquarian.

Melanie Figueroa

Melanie Figueroa is a literary agent at Root Literary. She represents middle grade, YA, and adult fiction along with select nonfiction and picture book titles. What she loves most about the job is the balance of creativity and an entrepreneurial spirit. After graduating with a masters in writing and book publishing from Portland State University, she worked as an in-house editorial project manager and then as a freelance editor for several years before joining the agency in 2018. Melanie was born and raised in Southern California in a multicultural, blended family, so she has a soft spot for books that shine a spotlight on the nuances of relationships and identity. She currently lives in Southern California and can be found on Twitter and Instagram at @wellmelsbells.

Saba Sulaiman

Saba Sulaiman is an agent at Talcott Notch Literary Services, a boutique agency located in Milford, CT. She holds a BA in Economics and Middle Eastern Studies from Wellesley College and an MA from the University of Chicago, where she studied modern Persian literature. Being an immigrant who is constantly negotiating her own identity and sense of belonging in a place she now calls “home,” she is committed to championing books by writers from marginalized communities with compelling stories to tell; stories that demonstrate the true range of perspectives that exist in this world, and address urgent and often underexplored issues in both fiction and non-fiction with veracity and heart. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @agentsaba
When it comes to Young Adult, specifically: I’m looking for strong voices and unconventional narratives that really make me sit up, pay attention, and move me emotionally. Introduce me to unforgettable characters with complex, deep relationships, and show me worlds where things aren’t necessarily as they seem. Intelligent, sharp writing with soul is my biggest weakness, and if you can offer a fresh perspective on top of that, I’ll probably be sold.
I tend to gravitate towards YA that engages honestly with any of the following questions: What does it mean to be responsible for one’s self, for one’s actions? What does it mean to make a good decision, a decision that’s good not just for your future self, but for your present self as well? Can you ascertain how moldable you are? How much of who you are comes from who you choose to be? Can you learn to accept that you’re also largely who you were meant to be and you can’t beat yourself up about it? Can you do better than what was handed down to you? Can you break free of generational cycles of forced expectations, trauma, and violence? Can you take in the reality that there are no neat answers, that there is no one right way to be in this world?

2022 Scholars

Amanda J. Floresca

Amanda J. Floresca (she/her) is a YA writer from Walterboro, South Carolina. She’s a biracial Filipina-American who enjoys writing about diverse and edgy characters in small town settings. Her short fiction has appeared in Short Story America and Owl Hollow Press. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Converse College and is currently a graduate student at the University of South Carolina, completing a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science. When she’s not doing homework or spending time with her children, she’s working on her debut novel. Find her on Instagram @ajflorescawrites

Abraham Johnson

Abraham Johnson (all pronouns) writes plays, prose, and love letters that center unabashed queer lives and strange transformations. As a playwright, their favorite credits include being named a two-time Lambda Literary Playwriting Fellow and serving as the inaugural Frontera Playwright with El Centro Productions in Syracuse, NY. In prose, Abe's favorite credits include “Trip the Light Fantastic” winning first place in the Voyage YA First Chapters Contest (selected by Dhonielle Clayton) and of course joining the Tin House family as a 2022 YA Scholar!

erin rachel

erin rachel is a writer of young adult and adult fiction. Her early love of science fiction and fantasy led to her fascination with the power we have to refashion our lives through expansive thinking and creativity. She is the founder of a social impact design studio that uses decolonized design practices to bring to life not-too-distant futures. She is currently working on a young adult speculative fiction novel. When she is not writing fiction, you can find her writing musicals, practicing design, or teaching at local colleges and through her studio. Learn more at byerinrachel.com or follow her on Instagram and Twitter @by_erinrachel  

Finola P. Davidson

Finola P. Davidson (she/her) writes YA horror and science fiction. She received her BA in English from Yale University and her PhD in English from the University of Notre Dame. She is represented by Carlisle Webber of Fuse Literary.

Dr. Fredrika Atkins

After completing her BA in English at Tuskegee University, Dr. Fredrika Atkins wanted to find a career that would allow her the leverage to make a difference while still pursuing her passion for writing.  Starting out in marketing while pursuing her Master’s in Integrated Marketing Communications in Chicago, Illinois at Roosevelt University in 2006 gave her the opportunity to do just that.   Fredrika has worked for non-profit and for-profit organizations before moving into Medicare Sales ten years ago.  While working full-time at WellCare, she also studied at Capella University in their Doctor of Business Administration, Strategy, and Innovation program, graduating in (2015).   Recently, Fredrika relocated to Oakland, California for a new position and opportunities that will afford her the space and platform to pursue her writing.  Fredrika’s experiences have allowed her to create innovative and fresh ways of writing about uncomfortable topics for young adults. Dr. Atkins is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and authored her first book, A Comparative Analysis of Factors Related to the Performance of Ethnic Majorities and Minority-Owned Small Businesses in Alabama, it was published in (2015 ) by  ProQuest-CSA, LLC ). Social Media Handles Facebook: Fredrika Atkins LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/fredrikaatkins Instagram: DocFreeFree

Marcella Haddad

Marcella Haddad is an MFA candidate at UMass Amherst, the Managing Editor of Moonflake Press, and an instructor at Grubstreet. Her work has appeared in Everyday Fiction, Phantom Kangaroo, Apparition Lit, and others. You can find her in a tree, on twitter @marcie_via, or at marcellaphaddad.com

Rory Gilhoul

Rory Gilhoul (they/he) is a speculative fiction writer currently based in Texas. Born in Brooklyn to a Scottish and Egyptian family, Rory spent their early childhood in Edinburgh before moving back to the United States. In 2021 they completed a Master’s degree in Comparative Literature at Trinity College Dublin. Their academic research focuses on the nexus of folklore and public memory. Rory is a co-founder of Wayward Warren Collective, a forthcoming online literary publication specializing in creative nonfiction about the politics and aesthetics of “the weird.” You can find Rory on Twitter @gilhouligan.