YSU English Festival celebrates 45th anniversary

YSU English FestivalThe Youngstown State University English Festival celebrates its 45th anniversary on April 19-21 as it welcomes to campus 2,500 students and teachers from 200 schools in the greater Youngstown region. To celebrate this milestone, the 2023 Festival features three nationally known, award winning authors.

Chris Crutcher makes his seventh appearance at the Festival. Crutcher is the author of fourteen books for young people, and they have received many honors. Five of them appeared on the American Library Association’s list of the 100 Best Books for Teens of the Twentieth Century, and many have been New York Times bestsellers. Crutcher has won two lifetime achievement awards for his work as well as Intellectual Freedom Awards from both the National Council of Teachers of English and the National Coalition Against Censorship.

Having made a virtual appearance at the Festival’s 2020 online Festival during the pandemic, Rita Williams-Garcia makes her first campus appearance, bringing with her a nationally lauded enthusiasm for talking to young people. Williams-Garcia is a New York Times bestselling author of more than a dozen novels for young adults and middle grade readers, and she’s the recipient of several Coretta Scott King Awards, Newbery Honor and National Book Award Finalist designations, and the Scott O’Dell Prize for Historical Fiction. Her recent work "Clayton Byrd Goes Underground", on the Festival booklist, won the NAACP Image Award for Youth and Teen Literature.

Eliot Schrefer makes his first appearance at the English Festival. Author of the highly regarded Ape series of four works featuring different members of the ape family as well as many other books for young readers, Schrefer has twice been a finalist for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. One of his ape books, "Endangered", was a finalist for the Walden Award and won the Green Earth Book Award and the Sigurd Olson Nature Writing Award.

Students read seven books on the Festival book list in order to attend, and at the Festival they participate in a full day of competitions, collaborative activities, author talks and presentations by YSU faculty and community volunteers. Each day ends in an awards ceremony, and over $15,000 in prizes are awarded over the three days for reading and writing accomplishments.

The Youngstown State University English Festival is the oldest literary festival in the nation for young people, welcoming 125,000 students to campus over its history. The English Festival will celebrate its 45th anniversary at a Thursday-night banquet co-hosted by the Western Reserve of Ohio Teachers of English and attended by teachers, Festival committee and advisory board members and community volunteers.

For further information, visit the YSU English Festival website or email info@ysuenglishfestival.org.