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YSU English Fest again virtual

YOUNGSTOWN — For the second consecutive year, the Youngstown State University English Festival set for April 21-23 will be held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nevertheless, event organizers said a full program of presentations and activities is planned, with 1,325 students from more than 100 middle and high schools already preregistered to participate.

“The pandemic may have changed our methods, but it has not dampened our enthusiasm for serving teens in the region,” Gary Salvner said, summing up the last two years of the festival.

“We continue our goal to serve the young people of the region by offering them stimulating reading and writing experiences, and by rewarding their efforts through engaging activities and contest prizes,” said Salvner, YSU English professor emeritus and a founder and longtime leader of the annual festival on the campus.

In advance of the festival, students submit entries in the Candace Gay Memorial Awards essay contest, as well as in art, music and graphic essay competitions. In addition, participating students can enter journalism, writing game and “not-so-trivial-pursuit” contests during the event itself. Author presentations, prose and poetry writing activities, and “insight” sessions, in which YSU faculty and community experts give talks on festival books, are also scheduled.

Ruta Sepetys, a New York Times bestselling author of critically praised books for young readers and adults, is the Thomas and Carol Gay Lecturer at this year’s festival. Sepetys’ works have received numerous awards, including the Carnegie Medal, and have been translated into more than 40 languages. Young adult authors Adib Khorram, Bridget Heos and Sally Pla, all designated as James A. Houck lecturers, also will offer sessions for participants.

Now in its 43rd year, the YSU English Festival is the longest-running book festival program for teen readers in the nation. It twice has received the Intellectual Freedom Award by the National Council of Teachers of English for its efforts and has drawn authors and scholars from around the country.

For more information, visit www.ysuenglishfest ival.org or contact info@ysuenglishfestival.org.

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