March 2022

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....

Visit website | Twitter

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....

Visit website | Facebook Twitter

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....

Visit website | Facebook

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

Want to help support literacy in Southern Arizona?
Become a Friend Now!
Show sponsors