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Provo City School District’s first-ever Author Con took place at Provo High on September 22, 2022. Guests enjoyed book signings, author-led writing and interactive illustration panels, make-and-take activities, book-based cosplay, photo booths, food truck fare, and one-on-one chats with Utah’s premier authors.

The Author’s art and discussion panels treated visitors to some personalized Q&A. Young students asked surprisingly complicated questions about writing. 

One student asked if they’ve ever made a massive change while writing their book that transformed their novel’s genre, tone, or even plot. Author Theresa Pocock shared that she had to revise a 90,000-word story to switch from past to present tense. It took her a year. Staci Olsen discussed including monsters in the novel’s middle rather than at the end, thus changing the tone and clarifying the plot.

Another student mentioned that they only write in “bits and pieces” before asking if “they ever write only bits of stories, and how they structure their novel.” Half of the authors on the panel laughed. Brad Garett spoke on that point, saying that this is his writing style. “Write the next cool thing. You can’t bore yourself with your novel. Just write what you like; you’ll find that you can tie it together later.”

One last student asked what advice he’d give to a student who never wrote before. Jeffrey Scott Savage shared his sage words, which are worth sharing with any young student:

I always thought I had to live more life, be older, and write. I was wrong. I regret I didn’t start writing sooner because that’s how you learn. Don’t wait until you’re older to become an author. You are an author. Start writing now.

Families huddled around author stalls, talking intimately about the favorite aspects of their novels, picking authors’ brains about their writing processes. Others brought their food in and sat to create origami, writing journals, and art books at the make-and-take corner.

Guests could also peruse other vendor stalls. Provo Kindness hosted a booth, offering free tee-shirts and cookies in exchange for stories of kindness (which we’ll share on our social media later). One booth hosted one of our district employees, showing off his lavish board game set. The event teemed from the onset until close with great family-friendly activities.

The line stretched around Provo High School’s building, populated with families dressed for the occasion. The building filled quickly at rope drop, the space transforming into an eclectic hub of literature’s most famous characters. From choice comic-book characters like Batman and Black Panther to Sci-Fi / Fantasy favorites like Frodo Baggins and Boba Fett, Author Con overflowed with students eager to read, snack, create, or learn from our authors.

Beyond the glitz of food fare, origami, photo booths, and cosplay, Author Con is unique because it feeds the small yet growing fire in our kids– the fire to create new art, pen their own stories, to learn, and to become. Seeing the future standing in our children’s eyes is what made Author Con so special.

Thanks so much to Media Specialist Christine Durst and our district’s librarians. This is their event, and without them, Author Con wouldn’t have happened. 

We’d also like to thank our corporate partners Follett and Sora from Overdrive for support of the Author Con, as well as these local businesses and publishing companies helping to promote family literacy:

  • Provo City Library
  • Provo Project Read
  • Provo Kindness Club
  • Pioneer Books
  • Immortal Works publishing
  • Shadow Mountain publishing
  • Gibb Smith Publishing
Spencer Tuinei
  • Communication Specialist
  • Spencer Tuinei