Teen Press Conference

Where young readers meet and interview their literary heroes

One of the best school events I’ve ever attended.

—Robin Benway, National Book Award Winner

The National Book Awards Teen Press Conference brings the excitement of the most prestigious literary award in the US to middle and high school students in New York City, and across the country. Held during National Book Awards Week, Teen Press Conference invites school groups to attend a free literary event that is curated just for them.

In-person and live-streamed event:
Tuesday, November 15, 2022
10am-12:30pm ET

92nd Street Y, New York
1395 Lexington Avenue

For the first time since 2019, the Teen Press Conference will take place in-person at the 92nd St Y, New York!

Registration for the in-person event has reached capacity. You may fill out the registration form to be added to the waitlist for the in-person event, or register for the livestream. We anticipate a small number of seats to open up, and encourage you to add your information to the waitlist. Groups will be accepted from the waitlist in the order they entered.


author photo of Rita Williams-Garcia
Rita Williams-Garcia. (Photo credit: Ferdinand Leyro)

Rita Williams-Garcia, a Queens, New York native, is the celebrated author of novels for young adult and middle grade readers. Her middle grade novel, Clayton Byrd Goes Underground won the 2018 NAACP Image Award for Literature for Young People and was a 2017 National Book Award Finalist. Williams-Garcia is most known for her Coretta Scott King Author Award-winning Gaither Sisters trilogy that begins with One Crazy Summer, recipient of the Newbery Honor and the Scott O’Dell Prize for Historical Fiction. She is a three-time Coretta Scott King Author Award recipient and a three-time National Book Award Finalist. Her YA+ historical novel, A Sitting in St. James (May ’21), set in 1860 Louisiana, won the 2022 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Young Adult Literature as well as the 2021 Boston Globe – Horn Book Award for Poetry and Fiction. Rita Williams-Garcia served as a faculty member at the VCFA MFA Writing for Children and Young Adults program from 2005-2015.

What does the event entail? The Teen Press Conference centers around short readings by each of the year’s five National Book Award Finalists in Young People’s Literature. Participating schools receive free copies (one per registered student) of one of the five nominated titles in advance of the event, and then interact with authors during a question-and-answer session and a book signing.

Who can attend?  The event is open to New York City middle and high schools. Each school group can bring a maximum of 40 students (not including chaperones).

Attendees are strongly encouraged, though not required, to wear a mask while at the event. NBF will have extra medical masks available at the door on a limited basis. Attendees are not required to show proof of Covid-19 vaccination. Any additional health and safety protocols will be communicated to registered groups in advance of the event.

A livestream will also be available, and students around the country can tune in. Teachers may register in advance for the livestream to receive digital supplemental materials.

How do I sign up? Complete the online registration form

After completion, you will receive a follow up email from National Book Foundation staff (within one business week) to confirm your group’s details and make sure you’re all set for the event. Please note, your registration is not guaranteed until you receive this confirmation.

Please note: in order to attend, students must have completed photo release forms. Teachers should bring the signed forms with them to the event on the day of.

What books will be featured? Here’s what makes the National Book Awards so exciting: we really don’t know in advance! The five Finalists are chosen by a closed panel of judges and announced on October 4th (you can see the Longlist here—this will be narrowed down to five). It’s highly recommended to reserve your group’s spot as soon as possible, and not wait for the announcement—we can guarantee they will all be great books!

What will I receive? Each school registered for the in-person event will receive free copies (one per registered student) of one of the five nominated titles. (Estimated availability: end of October). Unfortunately, we are unable to accommodate requests for specific titles.

Book pick-up: Not having to ship books is what helps us keep this event free of cost to schools and students. We ask that participating teachers pick up their book allotment from the National Book Foundation offices, located at 90 Broad Street in Manhattan, during designated times. Bring your tote bags!

Approximately two weeks in advance of the event, teachers will receive an email confirming their book allotment is ready for pick up. This email will also include: venue arrival details; photo release forms; information sheets on the author and book your school received; and tips for the Q&A.

At the event, students will receive a special Reporter’s Notebook with additional information about each title and author, and space for note-taking.

A note about book content: National Book Awards Finalists are chosen by a closed panel of judges (entirely separate from National Book Foundation staff), made up of writers and booksellers with expertise in literature for young people. In sharing these books as part of the Teen Press Conference, National Book Foundation uses age recommendations provided by publishers to help match groups with age-appropriate titles, but please note that young adult books frequently deal with mature content matter (including drug use, sex & sexuality, and violence). The National Book Foundation expects teachers to preview content of the books provided as part of Teen Press Conference, and be prepared to discuss content with students and their families, as necessary.

If for whatever reason you don’t feel that the book provided is appropriate to distribute to students in your school community, you are still welcome to attend the Teen Press Conference event and enjoy the reading and Q&A.

If you have any questions, please email NBF Education Manager Julianna Lee Marino at jleemarino@nationalbook.org.

2016 National Book Awards Young People’s Literature Finalists Jason Reynolds, Nicola Yoon, Grace Lin, and Winner Nate Powell sign books for students attending the Teen Press Conference. Photo credit: Beowulf Sheehan

The Teen Press Conference brings the excitement and prestige of the National Book Awards to an audience of young people. Held at the 92nd Street Y in New York the day before the National Book Awards ceremony, every year hundreds of middle and high school students from NYC schools attend free-of-charge, receive free copies of the nominated titles, and have the unique opportunity to connect and interact with high-profile authors in what is often their first exposure to a literary arts event.

The Teen Press Conference is also presented annually at the Miami Book Fair.

For questions about the Teen Press Conference, please email Education Programs Manager, Julianna Lee Marino at jleemarino@nationalbook.org.

Watch the 2021 Teen Press Conference, hosted by Kwame Alexander:

Watch the 2020 Teen Press Conference, hosted by Jason Reynolds:

Watch the 2019 Teen Press Conference, hosted by Angie Thomas:

Watch the 2018 Teen Press Conference, hosted by Jenny Han:

Watch the 2017 Teen Press Conference, hosted by Alvin Irby:

Watch the 2016 Teen Press Conference, hosted by Brendan Kiely:

Watch the 2015 Teen Press Conference,
hosted by Jacqueline Woodson with special guest LeVar Burton:

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