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You Are A Writer, Status Update: Book Bans & Their Aftershocks

Join us for a conversation with authors who are navigating a shifting landscape for children’s literature. What happens after a book ban? How do bans really affect sales and author visits? What does this moment mean for writers seeking to be published for the first time? This session will explore how prominent authors are responding to this moment and how authors in censorious times can protect and preserve their creative flow.



Opening remarks by kasey meehan, PEN AMERICA Freedom to Read Program Director



Abdi Nazemian is the author of five novels including Like a Love Story, The Chandler Legacies and his latest, Only This Beautiful Moment. For his literary work, he has received a Lambda Literary Award and a Stonewall Honor. His screenwriting credits include movies such as The Artist’s Wife and The Quiet, and television shows including Ordinary Joe. He has been a producer, executive producer or associate producer on a number of films, including Call Me By Your Name and Little Woods. He lives in Los Angeles with his husband, their two children, and their dog Disco.

Padma Venkatraman is the author of Born Behind Bars, The Bridge Home, A Time to Dance, Climbing the Stairs and Island’s End, which have secured over 20 starred reviews and sold over ¼ million copies. She is the winner of a Walter Dean Myers Award for Outstanding Children’s Literature, Golden Kite, Crystal Kite, three South Asia Book Awards, two Paterson Prizes, Julia Ward Howe and Nerdy Book Awards; recipient of Malka Penn, Sakura Medal, Prix des Libraries, Storytelling World and Litterado honors , etc. Her novels have appeared on numerous best book lists (ALA Notable, Kirkus, Booklist Editor’s Choice, NYPL, Chicago Public Library, Bank Street, CSMCL and many more). Dr. Venkatraman founded #DiverseVerse and she has had poems published in Poetry and nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Dr. Venkatraman loves leading writing workshops and speaking to audiences of all ages. She has been the featured author at international festivals and keynote speaker at NCTE/ALAN, SLJ Day of Dialog and other prestigious venues. Born in India, she immigrated alone at age 19, and, before becoming an American citizen, directed a school in England, served as chief scientist on oceanographic vessels, conducted research in environmental engineering at Johns Hopkins and the College of William and Mary, and led diversity efforts at the University of Rhode Island. Discover free resources created by Dr. Venkatraman at: www.padmavenkatraman.com.

Adib Khorram is the author of DARIUS THE GREAT IS NOT OKAY, which earned the William C. Morris Debut Award, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Young Adult Literature, and a Boston Globe–Horn Book Honor, as well as a multitude of other honors and accolades. His followup, DARIUS THE GREAT DESERVES BETTER, received three starred reviews, was an Indie Bestseller, and received a Stonewall Honor. His latest novel, KISS & TELL, received four starred reviews. His debut picture book, SEVEN SPECIAL SOMETHINGS: A NOWRUZ STORY was released in 2021. When he isn’t writing, you can find him learning to do a Lutz jump, practicing his handstands, or steeping a cup of oolong.

Phil Bildner, moderator, is the New York Times-bestselling author of numerous books for young people including the NCTE Charlotte Huck Award Honor-winning middle grade novel A High Five for Glenn Burke, the Margaret Wise Brown Prize-winning Marvelous Cornelius, and the critically acclaimed Rip and Red series. His latest release is the picture book biography, Glenn Burke, GameChanger. Phil is also the founder and President of The Author Village.



This virtual program will be co-presented by the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and is made possible in part by the support of the Pasadena Literary Alliance and the Authors Coalition of America.