The Canadian YA Event is a two week blog event that occurs from May 1st to 14th. It first came about in 2012, and it's my hope that it will continue year after year. It is my intent over those two weeks to highlight Canadian authors and introduce them to visitors and readers, in Canada, in the USA, and all over the world. Canada is a big country, but compared to the sheer number of authors who write for children and young adults, they can be overshadowed.
The blog event first started in 2012 when it was suggested to me by Kathy, a book review blogger from Ottawa, that I host an event showcasing Canadian YA authors. I was very interested in the idea, I wanted to promote Canadian YA authors and their books to the mainly American audience that I've come across through Me on Books and through Twitter. And so I went about planning. I figured May would be a good time in the year. July would've been great, taking Canada Day into account, but I wanted to hold the event a little earlier in the year.
In 2012, there were 14 posts, ranging from Q&A's (the author answering questions I posed to them about their books and writing in general) to guest posts (a short essay-type story by the author) to reviews of books written by Canadian YA authors. I also included a very short personal essay on a series I remembered well from my childhood and rediscovered last spring, the Guests of War series by Kit Pearson. The two weeks concluded with a list of all the Canadian YA authors I could think of (this list has expanded over time to hold almost 80 names and it is constantly growing).
I have so much love for the authors who were willing to take part in the first year of the event: Kathleen Peacock, Eileen Cook, Megan Crewe, Denise Jaden, Cat Knutsson, Jocelyn Shipley, and Hélène Boudreau. I can't thank them enough for answering my silly questions and writing on the weird topics I suggested. Also, many thanks are owed to HarperCollins Canada, Hachette Book Group Canada, and Raincoast Books for putting me in contact with some of their authors.
Many thanks also go out to those authors who took part in 2013: Kathleen Peacock (the main cheerleader for the event), Joëlle Anthony, Robin Stevenson, Shelley Hrdlitschka, Gabrielle Prendergast, Joanne Levy, Catherine Egan, Lisa Voisin, Eve Silver, Amy McCulloch, and Amanda Sun. Your willingness to answer my foolish questions was astounding.
I hope to have different types of posts in the next few years, ones to engage readers and reviewers. I'm currently toying with the idea of having other Canadian book blogger write a post on their thoughts on Canadian YA books and authors or on introducing a new discussion topic every year, highlighting books and the different important issues they discuss, like sexual health in teens, violence, drugs/alcohol, LGBTQ perception and rights, language (English/French), and cultural identity. This sounds very ambitious. ;)
As this blog event takes place, it is my hope that I not only introduce new readers to such wonderful books and authors, but to also show Canadians hoping to write YA and be published that it can happen, even here in Canada. You don't have to live in New York to be a writer, or L.A., or even Toronto. Anyone can do it.
Any authors, debut or previously published, interested in taking part are welcome to e-mail me at leroberts.26(at)gmail(dot)com. I'm also available on Twitter at @le_robertson if you have questions or comments. :)