Nazareth College, 4245 East Ave., Rochester, will host the Greater Rochester Teen Book Festival from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on May 19.
TBF is hosting an additional author this year, thanks to a $3,420 grant from the LGBT Giving Circle at Rochester Area Community Foundation. The grant underwrites the costs to bring award-winning author Bill Konigsberg from Arizona to participate as one of 27 featured authors.
While in Rochester, Konigsberg will visit three public school districts: East Rochester, Gananda on May 18 and Canandaigua Academy. He will offer a three-hour master class in fiction writing, “Novel Writing Boot Camp,” on May 17 at Writers & Books, 740 University Ave., Rochester.
Konigsberg’s titles for readers in middle school and high school are known for their humor, tenderness and sympathy. “Out of Pocket” won the Lambda Literary Award in 2009, and “The Porcupine of Truth” received the Stonewall Book Award in 2016.
Konigsberg worked as a sports writer and editor for Associated Press from 2005 to 2008. His article “Sports world still a struggle for gays” on ESPN.com earned him a GLAAD Media Award in 2002. He serves as assistant professor of practice at the Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University.
TBF annually unites over 2,000 teens and adults with various literary tastes on the Nazareth College campus. TBF doubled its attendance over the past five years. Since its start in 2006, the festival’s goals are to connect teen readers to award-winning authors, enhance students’ reading and literacy skills and help youth develop their potential by encouraging interaction between aspiring teen writers and established authors.
The festival opens with a panel including all the authors before breakout sessions designed to promote interaction with readers and writers. Teens can attend an autographing session at the end of the festival. Books from festival authors are available at local public or school libraries and for purchase at the event. Festival T-shirts and other merchandise are for sale. Meals and snacks are available from Nazareth College food service and Rochester food trucks.
Many school districts make the day a field trip opportunity for their middle and high school students. In 2017, nearly 1,200 students and chaperones arrived by bus, representing 45 school districts from across central and western New York and the Southern Tier. With the assistance of more than 300 adult and teen volunteers from area school districts and the community, there is no direct cost to attendees.
Board member Lisa Wemett thanked LGBT Giving Circle for its support “on behalf of the thousands of teens who have come to know TBF as a safe place to be a reader and to share that enjoyment with everyone across all backgrounds, experiences, beliefs and dreams.”
Catherine Lewis, chairman of the grant making committee at LGBT Giving Circle, said a priority is reaching youth and celebrating the varied culture of the LGBT community. Bringing an author whose work includes LGBT characters and themes to TBF and Writers & Books can make a difference in the quality of life for LGBT individuals and the community at large.
In its sixth year of grant awards, the Giving Circle distributed $30,000 to 15 nonprofit organizations that are inclusive and support the LGBT community across an eight-county region through an array of social service, cultural and LGBT rights projects.
Visit teenbookfest.org for information.