A Virtual Festival Saturday, March 6 and Sunday, March 7, 2021

Survival and Hope in an Unfair World

Three authors talk about writing young adult novels based on their experiences with gang life in Jamaica, their battles with depression in Ciudad Juarez and dealing with ethnic cleansing in Bosnia. Their stories reflect the challenges of maintaining hope within a world that is often unfair.

Desmond Hall

Desmond Hall was born in Jamaica, West Indies, and moved to Jamaica, Queens. He has worked as a high school biology and English teacher in East New York, Brooklyn, counseled teenage ex-cons after their release from Rikers Island and served as Spike Lee's creative director at Spike DDB....

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Amra Sabic-El-Rayess

Amra Sabic-El-Rayess grew up in Bihac, Bosnia and Herzegovina. After surviving ethnic cleansing and more than 1,100 days under the Serbs’ military siege, she emigrated to the United States in 1996....

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Alessandra Narváez Varela

Born and raised in Ciudad Juárez, México, Alessandra Narváez Varela earned a B.S. in biology and an M.F.A. from the Bilingual Creative Writing program at the University of Texas at El Paso, where she is currently a creative writing instructor....

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The Cat I Never Named
A True Story of Love, War, and Survival
Amra Sabic-El-Rayess
Children / Teens
Bloomsbury USA
September 2020
ISBN 9781547604531
Kindle Edition, 384 pages
$19.99, INSTORE
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Your Corner Dark
Desmond Hall
Children / Teens
Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
January 2021
ISBN 9781534460713
384 pages
$19.99, INSTORE
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Thirty Talks Weird Love
Alessandra Narváez Varela
Children / Teens
Cinco Puntos Press
January 2021
ISBN 9781947627499
208 pages
$12.95, NYP
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Named Sponsors

Arizona Daily Star
University of Arizona

Presenting Sponsors

Tucson Medical Center

Major Sponsors

Friends of the Festival
Pima County Public Library
Stocker Foundation
University of Arizona BookStores
University of Arizona - Facilities Management
William & Mary Ross Foundation

Key Sponsors

Early Childhood Learning is Essential
Marshall Foundation

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