The Mid-Continent Public Library's North Independence Branch will host a free teen literature and arts festival Saturday.
“LitUp,” founded by 15-year-old Shawnee Mission East High School student Emery Uhlig, will begin with registration at 8:30 a.m., and lasts throughout the day, featuring presentations and workshops by best-selling authors and various other artists. The library is at 317 West U.S. 24.
Uhlig said she wanted to create “LitUp” to change what she sees as a decreasing role that books and literature play in the peers' lives.
“I hope that by giving teenagers a chance to meet some of their favorite authors and artists, they'll be more motivated to read and to pursue careers in art and writing,” Uhlig said in a release.
The first keynote address at 9 a.m. is from Ishmael Beah, New York Times best-selling author of “A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier.” Following Beah's speech, attendees can then attend presentations and workshops in fiction, nonfiction, poetry and graphic art – some as hands-on instruction and others as informal interviews moderated by teens. The second keynote address, at 1:30 p.m., will be from Rainbow Rowell, author of “Eleanor & Park,” “Fangirl” and “Landline.”
There will be a poetry slam at 5 p.m., an awards ceremony for the LitUp Creative Contest that ran earlier this spring and then the final keynote address from Nnedi Okorafor, award-winning author of African-based science fiction, fantasy and magical realism for both children and adults. The daughter of Nigerian immigrants, her latest novel is “The Book of Phoenix,” and lately she has written issues of Marvel's “Black Panther” comic book series.
The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority will provide free transportation for the festival, with shuttles running every hour beginning at 8 a.m., between Ruskin and Winnetonka high schools and North Independence Branch. The free transportation is available only to those who have registered ahead for LitUp, and the last bus departs the library at 8 p.m.
A complete schedule and registration (required for all sessions) can be found at LitUpFestival.org. Lunch and dinner will be provided, and book signings will be available.