Sarah Dessen, the No. 1 New York Times bestselling author of more than a dozen novels for teens, will speak April 11 at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford.
Dessen will share stories about writing and her books, read, and sign books at 7 p.m. in the Harriett B. Wick Chapel. The program is free and open to the public. The Pitt-Bradford hospitality management program will provide refreshments.
A community forum will be held at 5 p.m. in the chapel to discuss how young adult novels can spark conversations about adolescent development and common concerns faced by teenagers.
The interactive discussion, “Talking about the World of Teenagers Using Novels They Read,” will be led by Dr. Rebecca McHugh, assistant professor of psychology. Teens, parents, teachers and anyone else interested may attend.
McHugh will be joined by Mary Anne Polucci-Sherman, a psychologist at Bradford Regional Medical Center, and Suzy Meyer-Page, a counselor at Deerfield Behavioral Health.
Earlier this year, Dessen received the 2017 Margaret A. Edwards Award from the American Library Association for her significant and lasting contribution to writing for teens.
That writing includes “Dreamland,” “Keeping the Moon,” “Just Listen,” “The Truth About Forever,” “Along for the Ride,” “What Happened to Goodbye?” and “This Lullaby.”
Edwards Award committee chairperson, Joy Milliam, said “The teen years are often filled with anxiety, conflict and a sense of helplessness, but Sarah Dessen's voice brings comfort, acceptance and love. Her stories lead to answers without condescension. Readers are empowered and learn that they have the ability to overcome their challenges.
In writing a review for her novel “What Happened to Goodbye” in 2011, Susan Carpenter of the Los Angeles Times wrote, “Sarah Dessen is something of a rock star in young adult fiction. Her bestselling coming-of-age novels are warmly written explorations of teens in transition that are, by turns, questioning, humorous and hopeful.”
Dessen's newest novel, “Once and for All,” set in the world of wedding planning, will be released in June. She lives in Chapel Hill, N.C., where she grew up as the child of two professors at the University of North Carolina.
Dessen's visit is co-sponsored by the Bradford Area Public Library, Bradford Area School District, Friends of Hanley Library, the Pitt-Bradford Division of Management and Education, Port Allegany School District, the Blaisdell Foundation, and the University of Pittsburgh's Humanities Center.