Seen and Unseen: Disability Representation in YA Fiction
These YA novels shine with characters whose stories may be shaped in part by their disabilities, but who refuse to be defined them. Join casts of unforgettable teens determined to claim their own stories and futures in the timeless pursuits of adventure, belonging, and love. For the health and safety of our authors, masking is kindly requested for both the panel and book signing. For your convenience, masks will be made available at the event.
About the authors
LILLIE LAINOFF received her BA in English from Yale University, where she was a varsity fencer and one of the first physically disabled athletes to individually qualify for any NCAA championship event, and her MA in Creative Writing Prose Fiction at the University of East Anglia. She has also won the 2019 Los Angeles Review Literary Award for Short Fiction, was a featured Rooted in Rights disability activist, and is the founder of Disabled Kidlit Writers on Facebook. She lives in Washington, DC. READ MORE ABOUT LILLIE
NATALIA SYLVESTER is the author of two novels for adults, Chasing the Sun and Everyone Knows You Go Home, which won an International Latino Book Award. Running, her debut novel for young adults, was a 2020 Junior Library Guild Selection and her sophomore YA, Breathe and Count Back from Ten was named a best YA Book of 2022 by Kirkus Reviews and New York Public Library. Born in Lima, Peru, Sylvester grew up in Florida and Texas and received a BFA in Creative Writing from the University of Miami. READ MORE ABOUT NATALIA
JEFFREY DALE LOFTON hails from Warm Springs, Georgia, best known for Roosevelt’s Little White House. He calls the nation’s capital home now and has for three decades. During those early years, he spent many a night trodding the boards of DC’s theaters and performing arts centers. He even scored a few television appearances, including a residuals-rich Super Bowl halftime commercial, which his accountant wisecracked “is the finest work of your career.” Ultimately he stepped away from acting and landed at the Library of Congress where he helped war veterans tell their stories, their accounts then housed in the library’s permanent collection. At the same time, he pursued post-graduate work, being awarded Master’s degrees in both Public Administration and Library and Information Science. Today, he is senior advisor at the Library of Congress, surrounded by books and people who love books—in short, paradise. READ MORE ABOUT JEFFREY
About the Host
Nicole Zelniker (she/they) is the author of several books, including “Until We Fall,” which was a finalist for the Forward Indie Awards in LGBTQ+ adult fiction. Her forthcoming book "From Where We Are" comes out with Signum University Press in April 2024. She’s also the founder and editor-in-chief of the literary magazine Knee Brace Press. In her free time, Nicole enjoys re-reading her favorite books, listening to musicals, and bothering her cat.