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February 15, 2022 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm EST

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Join authors Irene Latham, Colby Cedar Smith, Ellen Hagan and Charles Waters as they discuss the art of writing novels in verse with editor extraordinaire and moderator, Stacey Barney. When do they write in verse, why do they write in verse and how! We’ll take a look at their most recent novels to answer these questions.

We’re thrilled to be spotlighting the indie bookstore Little Shop of Stories  in Decatur, GA along with the event.  If you’re moved to purchase a books, please purchase them from this gem of a shop!


Irene Latham  is a grateful creator of many novels, poetry collections, and picture books, including the coauthored Can I Touch Your Hair?: Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship, which earned a Charlotte Huck Honor, and The Cat Man of Aleppo, which won a Caldecott Honor. Irene lives on a lake in rural Alabama.

Purchase AFRICAN TOWN  by Irene Latham and Charles Waters

Colby Cedar Smith has been a finalist for over twenty poetry prizes including including The Iowa Review Poetry Award, the New Letters Poetry Prize, the Colorado Prize for Poetry; and a semi-finalist for the 92Y “Discovery”/Boston Review Poetry Prize.  Her debut novel in verse,  Call Me Athena: Girl from Detroit  (Andrews McMeel, 2021) is a Junior Library Guild Gold Selection Standard Selection; an American Booksellers Association Kids’ Indie Next Pick; a #1 Amazon August New Release in 20th Century Historical Fiction, and Teen Poetry; a Cybils Award Poetry Finalist; a 2021 Goodreads Choice Best Poetry Nominee, and a 2022 Michigan Notable Book.

Purchase CALL ME ATHENA: GIRL FROM DETROIT by Colby Cedar Smith

Ellen Hagan is a writer, performer, and educator. Her books include: Crowned, Hemisphere, Watch Us Rise, a YA collaboration with Renée Watson, Blooming Fiascoes (poetry collection forthcoming from Northwestern University Press, 2021) and Reckless, Glorious, Girl (middle grade novel in verse forthcoming from Bloomsbury, 2021). Ellen’s poems and essays can be found on ESPNW, in the pages of Creative Nonfiction, Underwired Magazine, She Walks in Beauty (edited by Caroline Kennedy), Huizache, Small Batch, and Southern Sin. A proud Kentucky writer, Ellen is a member of the Affrilachian Poets, Conjure Women, and is co-founder of the girlstory collective. She lives with her partner and daughters in New York City.

Purchase RECKLESS, GLORIOUS, GIRL by Ellen Hagan

Charles Waters is the coauthor (with Irene Latham) of Can I Touch Your Hair? Poems of Race, Mistakes and Friendship, which received a 2019 Charlotte Huck Honor and Dictionary For a Better World: Poems, Quotes and Anecdotes from A – Z. His work has appeared in many anthologies including: Amazing Places edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins, The Proper Way to Meet a Hedgehog edited by Paul B. Janecko and The National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry edited by J. Patrick Lewis.

Purchase AFRICAN TOWN by Irene Latham and Charles Waters

Stacey Barney is the associate publisher of Nancy Paulsen Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers. She was recently honored at the 6th Black Women in Media Awards for her work, contribution, and demonstration of excellence in Literature & Publishing. Stacey  has worked in children’s book publishing for twenty years.  She edited the 2021 Caldecott Award Honor Book The Cat Man of Aleppo, written by Irene Latham and Karim Shamsi-Basha and illustrated by Yuko Shimizu. In 2020, ALAN awarded Ms. Barney the Bill Konigsberg Award for Acts and Activism for Equity and Inclusion through Young Adult Literature, noting her commitment to making books that are “real, accessible, complex and integral components to a just and connected world.”


February 15, 2022
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm EST


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