Eventbrite is the largest self-service ticketing platform in the world, and they help people organize and plan conferences and events. Check out their conference management software! They reached out to me to invite me to participate in a project where book-bloggers like myself imagine their dream author panels that they would love to see at book conferences. As I’ve never been to a book conference before, I was very excited to participate and it didn’t take me long to figure out exactly who I’d want to hear from in an author panel.
I came up with five panels, each consisting of authors that fit a certain genre or category that I came up with. Here they are!
Panel #1: LGBTQIA+ Authors
Since June is PRIDE month, I of course had do include a panel of #ownvoices authors who write books with queer representation. For this panel I chose:
- Adam Silvera – a gay man from the Bronx who writes M/M YA fiction (More Happy Than Not, History is All You Left Me)
- Patrick Ness – a gay man from the UK who writes a variety of YA fiction, including gay main and side characters (Chaos Walking, More Than This, The Rest of Us Just Live Here, A Monster Calls, and more)
- Meredith Russo – a transgender woman who recently published her first novel about a transgender girl named Amanda (If I Was Your Girl)
- Nina LaCour – I believe she is lesbian, but I’m not sure so I’m not going to put a label, but she has a wife, so her books with F/F relationships are #ownvoices (We Are Okay, Everything Leads to You, Hold Still, The Disenchantments, You Know Me Well, and more)
Panel #2: Feminist Authors
It’s so important to have strong leading female roles in YA literature, and all four of these lovely ladies have written some AMAZINGLY badass female characters. Plus, they all have the cutest, sweetest presences on social media, and I would love to meet them all in person.
- Becky Albertalli – Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, The Upside of Unrequited
- Mindy McGinnis – A Madness so Discreet, Given to the Sea, The Female of the Species, Not a Drop to Drink, and more
- Alexandra Bracken – The Passenger duology, The Darkest Minds trilogy
- Leigh Bardugo – The Grisha trilogy, Six of Crows duology
Panel #3: Diversity (non-white authors)
All of these authors have such amazing and unique books, and I think it would be fascinating to see how they’ve brought their own experiences into their writing. It’s so important to read diversely, but it’s also important to read #ownvoices books, which provide a more accurate depiction of marginalized identities. Honestly there were a bunch more I could have added, but I wanted to stick to four per panel.
- Angie Thomas – and African American author. She recently came out with her first book, inspired by the #blacklivesmatter movement (The Hate U Give)
- Evelyn Skye – I’m not sure her exact background, and I’m not going to guess. She has just published the second book in her duology about Russian enchanters (The Crown’s Game)
- Khaled Hosseini – an Afghani author who has published three books set in the Middle East. (The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns, And The Mountains Echoed)
- Sabaa Tahir – again not positive on her background, but she is currently working on her third book in her amazing trilogy inspired by Ancient Rome (An Ember in the Ashes, A Torch Against the Night)
Panel #4: Non-fiction Authors
I’ve cheated a little bit here, as these are all authors who have written their own memoirs, or autobiographies. I don’t read nearly as much nonfiction as I should, so this is what I was able to come up with. All of these people have had such unique lives, and I think hearing from them would be life-changing.
- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – she’s a Nigerian author who has written several books set in Africa, and has spoken about her feminist beliefs (Half of a Yellow Sun, Americanah, We Should All Be Feminists, and more)
- Malala Yousafzai – she’s a Pakistani girl who, at the age of 15, was shot by the Taliban for speaking about about her beliefs that all should receive an education. She has since become very active in the UN, and has become the youngest person to ever receive a Nobel Peace Prize (I am Malala)
- Marjane Satrapi – she grew up in Iran during the Iranian revolution, and wrote about it in her graphic memoir (Persepolis)
- Bill Hayes – a gay man who is a photographer and author. He was in a relationship with the late Oliver Sacks, and wrote about their time together in his beautiful book (Insomniac City: New York, Oliver, and Me)
Panel #5: My “Fictional” Dream Panel
Ok, so for this last panel, I wanted to bring some people back from the dead. Just for fun. All these (dead) authors produced some of my favorite works of all time, and I would love to hear what writing advice they would offer, as well as more insight into their works. Plus, I’d love to see how they’d react to the popularity of their writings today (Van Gogh in Dr Who anyone?)
- Jane Austen – my favorite book of all time is probably Pride and Prejudice, and getting to meet its creator may actually put me into a coma (Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Mansfield Park, Emma, and more)
- William Shakespeare – who would turn down the opportunity to meet him and hear him talk about writing??? An eclectic playwright who created some of the most famous works of all time. Please, please bring him back. (Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Macbeth, and more)
- Emily Dickinson – I’m less familiar with her writing, but what I have read of it has left me absolutely breathless. I want to know how she chose her words. Can I just have her brain, please? (so many poems. so many)
- Oscar Wilde – I want to meet this man. Please. Plus, I want him to see a world where it’s ok to be LGBTQIA+ and just. Yes. His writing is so great, and I’ve loved everything I’ve read by him. (The Importance of Being Earnest, An Ideal Husband, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and more)
What authors would be on your dream panel? Have you been to any author panels before? If you could bring any authors back to life, who would they be? Tell me in the comments!