Cavalcade of Authors celebrates its sixth year with 16 young adult writers

By Ty Beaver, Tri-City HeraldMarch 9, 2014 

Sixteen authors in the young adult genre will join more than 1,000 Mid-Columbia middle and high school students Friday for the Cavalcade of Authors.

The annual writing conference for students will celebrate its sixth year at Columbia Basin College. But visiting authors won't limit themselves to CBC's Pasco campus during their stay.

The event started as a reading program at Enterprise Middle School in West Richland before growing to include students from eight districts.

Students attend the event free of charge but are required to read books from at least four of the authors at the conference in order to earn a spot.

Students then can choose from a number of seminars by each author and can also compete in a writing contest.

Other students not attending the conference also will get a chance to hear from some of the authors. Matt de la Pena, who's written We Were Here and Ball Don't Lie, will visit with eighth-graders and their families at Park Middle School on Wednesday night to talk about how he became a writer. He'll also visit Pasco High School.

Andrew Smith, author of Winger and The Marbury Lens, will spend the full day Thursday at Phoenix High School working with students. It will be the first time the school has had an author visit as part of the Cavalcade event.

Other authors will visit other schools throughout the Tri-Cities and beyond, including in Connell and Umatilla.

About six schools usually receive visits from Cavalcade authors around the time of the conference, said coordinator Michelle Lane. But the organization instituted a new system this year where a donor could designate a needy school to receive an author visit with a minimum donation of $1,000, and the community responded positively.

"Almost all of our authors have visits somewhere," Lane said. "That's exciting for us."

Students won't be the only ones with access to the writers. S.A. Bodeen, who wrote The Compound and other books, will talk about her book at CBC on Saturday night.

The Compound was selected as the Community Reads book by the annual Mid-Columbia Literary Festival and hundreds of free copies were distributed in the Tri-Cities.

While the community reading projects is only one aspect of the festival's planned activities for the year, organizers have said they selected Bodeen's post-apocalyptic book so that all members of a family could read and discuss it together.

And all the Cavalcade authors will be at Barnes & Noble Bookstore at the Columbia Center mall from 5 to 6 p.m. Thursday for anyone wanting a book autographed.

-- Ty Beaver: 509-582-1402; tbeaver@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @_tybeaver; Google+: +TyBeaverTCHerald

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