The Young Adult (YA) book scene isn’t just for teenagers, says INFUSION - YA Book Festival’s founder and director Sukhmani Purewal, and it’s so much more than just cheesy love-triangle plotlines, too.
What started out as a school project for the North Delta bookworm has now transformed into a three-years running YA book festival, which aims to immerse young minds into the magical, adventurous world of reading and writing.
“Going from my own experiences in school, you don’t really get to connect with people about this passion you have, so it’s kind of hidden, and that was the basis of [creating this festival]. This is creating space for people to talk about the things that they like,” says Purewal.
This year’s festival is online, as it was last year, and free to register for.
It’s not just for teenagers though, as the genre – despite its name – expands beyond that age group.
“Our target audience is really for anyone between 13 and 35 ... When you look at surveys being done, a majority of those who are actually reading YA are between the ages of 22 and 35,” explains Purewal.
The opening night on Friday, Nov. 26 will include a “hot chocolate mixer” to allow attendees to chat and connect with one another before the festival’s first panel begins.
There, in partnership with B.C. & Yukon Book Prizes, they’ll examine whether we, as readers, are showing up for books with more diverse representation after calling for it, she says.
Saturday, Nov .27 will offer four panels ranging from more serious topics like the importance of young people seeing themselves represented in the books they read to lighter ones like debating what the best YA tropes are.
Authors from all across the country will be featured over the course of the two days, including from the Lower Mainland.
“We have so much talent here – there’s so much hidden talent – and it’s an honour to be able to spotlight that,” she says.
If you’re interested in registering for INFUSION - YA Book Festival, check out their website at https://www.infusionyabookfest.ca/.
Recordings of the panel will also be available on their YouTube channel.