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History of the Colorado Teen Literature Conference

The Young Adult Literature Conference was initiated in 1988 by the Jefferson County Library Foundation and the Metropolitan State College at Denver English Department faculty as an outreach to teachers and library professionals who were concerned about teen literacy.


The guiding principle continues: Quality literature for teens and young adults is available in ever increasing amounts, but is under-publicized and under-utilized in many literacy development efforts directed to teens. The conference focuses attention on significant authors, their writing, and methods for incorporating this literature in teaching and in library outreach programs.


Metropolitan State College at Denver started as a major sponsor supported by Dr. Joan Foster, Dean of the College of Letters and Sciences, and English Department faculty. In 1998, the University of Colorado Denver School of Education and Human Development became a sponsor under the auspices of Marge Erickson Freeburn, adjunct professor of English Education, and Nancy Shanklin, Associate Professor, Language Literacy and Culture. UCD-SEHD Dean Lynn Rhodes funded the Teen Connection Panel, a discussion between the featured author and a teen panel. The Pikes Peak Library District designs and prints the registration and program materials.


In 2001, Colorado’s Young Adult Advocates in Libraries (CYAAL) broadened librarians’ participation throughout the state. The Colorado Language Arts Society became a sponsor in 2003 and established the Kathy Bellin Memorial Grants to fund additional teen participation and to honor Dr. Bellin, a former member of the planning committee. Librarian Mary Clare Wickins, encouraged Colorado REFORMA to support participation of Latina/o teens by funding additional grants. The Young Adult Literature Conference was renamed Colorado Teen Literature Conference in 2005 to more precisely reflect our purpose, focus, and audience.


The planning committee actively recruits teens as conference participants, presenters, and panelists. In 2012, the Colorado Teen Literature Conference incorporated as a Non-Profit organization.


The CTLC program offers diverse sessions thanks to the willingness of knowledgeable librarians, teachers, authors, and teens who voluntarily share their expertise. Other volunteers, in the past including Adolescent Literature students at MSCD and high school students from Bear Creek High School, have provided much-appreciated help to make the conference a success.


Now in its 36th year, the CTLC has maintained its unique character as a gathering of proponents for literature that meets the literacy interests and needs of teens and teen advocates.


Featured Authors 1989-2023


2023--Wendelin Van Draanen and Mark Parsons

2022--Xiran Jay Zhao and Roshani Chokshi

2020--Alan Gratz and Varian Johnson 

2019--Bill Konigsberg and Sandhya Menon

2018--Simone Elkeles and Raúl the Third

2017--Gail Carriger and Greg Neri

2016--Kekla Magoon and Eliot Schrefer

2015--Andrew Smith and Wendelin Van Draanen

2014--A. S. King and David Levithan

2013--Jay Asher and Lauren Oliver

2012--Todd Mitchell and Maggie Stiefvater

2011--Rachel Vail and Pete Hautman

2010--Ellen Hopkins and Matt de la Pena

2009--David Lubar and Jordan Sonnenblick

2008--Gail Giles and Alane Ferguson

2007--Chris Crutcher

2006--Julie Ann Peters with Kelli Milner Halls, Lauren Myracle, Denise Vega, Ann Howard Creel, Mitali Perkins

2005--Tamora Pierce and Sharyn November, Chief Editor Puffin Books

2005--Last-minute Superstar replacement, Connie Willis

2004--Laurie Halse Anderson with Don Gallo from NCTE, Victoria Hanley, Lauren Myracle, James Van Pelt, Mary Peace Finley

2003--Todd Strasser with Lorri Hewitt, Terry Davis, Karen Romano Young, Joni Bodart

2002--T. A. Barron and Victoria Hanley

2001--Rita Williams-Garcia and Diana Texier Herald

2000--Mel Glenn and S.L. Rottman

1999--Suzanne Fisher Staples and Angel Vigil

1998--Carolyn Meyer and Avi

1997--Will Hobbs

1996--Lois Duncan and Jimmy Santiago Baca

1995--Joan Lowry Nixon

1994--Walter Dean Myers and Patrick Jones

1993--Chris Crutcher, Barbara Steiner, and Warwick Downing


1991--Norma Fox Mazer

1990--Richard Peck and Joni Bodart

1989--Todd Strasser and Joni Bodart


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