Sarah Enni will lead a live taping of her podcast, First Draft, on Friday night and take part in the full day of Saturday events for Ya-hoo Fest. Admission is $5 to see Friday's podcast interviews; admission is free on Saturday. / Photo by Ransom Riggs

YA-hoo Fest, a celebration of young-adult literature, returns this weekend with at least 30 intriguing characters and a couple of plot twists.

Chief among the festival's second-year surprises are a live taping of a podcast on Friday night and a Saturday morning kickoff that draws all participants together before they disperse for a day of book readings, panel discussions and other entertainment.

"Last year we went straight into sessions," says Joel Henderson, English professor and Humanities Department chairman at Chattanooga State Community College. "This year we wanted a chance to get everybody in the same room."

Thirty authors of young-adult and middle-grade literature are booked for the festival. Saturday's events are scheduled from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Chattanooga State, which is presenting the event as part of its Writers@Work program, in partnership with the Southern Lit Alliance. All Saturday events are free.

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Sarah Enni / Photo by Ransom Riggs

The only charge is a $5 admission for those attending the Friday night podcast, First Draft With Sarah Enni.

Enni is the author of the novel "Tell Me Everything" and the short story "The Blessing of Little Wants" in the New York Times best-selling anthology "Because You Love To Hate Me." She launched her critically acclaimed podcast in 2014 to plumb the minds of fellow writers. She recently marked her 200th episode of conversations about the creative process, inspiration and writing advice.

For Friday's live taping, her guests will be Rick Yancey ("The 5th Wave," the Alfred Kropp adventures), Cindy Pon ("Want," "Ruse") and Justin Reynolds ("Opposite of Always"), who will share their stories, play games and answer audience questions.

"I've done lots of live events before with other authors," she says. "It's just some fun interaction to get the audience engaged. Definitely the whole point is to give readers a chance to see their favorite authors as regular people capable of cracking jokes."

Enni says she's familiar with the works of all three authors, and knows Pon personally (both are based in California), but this will be first time for any of them to join her on First Draft. "They're all people I haven't talked to before, so that makes it even more exciting for me," she says.

Saturday morning, Jeff Zentner ("The Serpent King," "Goodbye Days") will open the proceedings with a high-energy welcome. Two morning sessions will follow before a break for lunch and live entertainment by Chattanooga band Spinster. The day will resume with author signings and three afternoon sessions with the authors, before a final signing opportunity to end the day.

Participants may purchase tickets for the podcast and register for the festival, to give organizers a headcount, at

Henderson says last year's festivalgoers praised the diversity of authors in the lineup, so replicating that success went into planning this year's event.

"We're looking for folks who have new books out," Henderson says. "We have a lot of veteran authors, and we're always looking for debut authors — whoever's creating buzz and generating a lot of interest.

"It's also really important to us that every student can see his or her story reflected in at least one author's book," he adds. "We want to make sure that we've got authors of all ethnicities, backgrounds and nationalities."

Many of the featured authors will arrive early to visit with students at area schools.

Although YA literature is generally aimed at youths ages 12-18, many authors have an adult following as well, which has helped fuel the growth of the genre. According to the Young Adult Library Services Association, a division of the American Library Association, the number of YA titles published more than doubled between 2002 and 2012 — more than 10,000 in 2012 versus about 4,700 in 2002. By some market estimates, nearly 70 percent of all YA titles are purchased by adults between the ages of 18 and 64, not all of them parents buying for children.

The stories explore countless versions of "coming of age" with plot lines that touch on such topics as drugs, sex, gender issues, parental divorce, terminal cancer and bullying,

"In some ways, a lot of our classic literature is full of young-adult stories," says Enni, citing J.D. Salinger's tale of angst and alienation, "The Catcher in the Rye," as an example. "Holden Caulfield wasn't marketed as YA, but what else would you call it?"

Contact Lisa Denton at or 423-757-6281.

If you go

* What: YA-hoo Fest, young-adult book festival

* When: 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21

* Where: Chattanooga State Community College, 4501 Amnicola Highway

* Admission: Free (Star Line Books will have books for sale)

* Register:

* What: Live taping of First Draft With Sarah Enni

* When: 6:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20

* Where: Chattanooga State Community College, 4501 Amnicola Highway

* Admission: $5

* Online tickets:

Saturday schedule

9:30-10:15 a.m. Kickoff with Jeff Zentner

10:30-11:15 a.m. Session 1

11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Session 2

12:15-1:45 p.m. Lunch and live entertainment by Spinster>12:15-1 p.m. Author signing (A-L)

1-1:45 p.m. Author signing (M-Z)

1:45-2:30 p.m. Session 3

2:45-3:30 p.m. Session 4

3:45-4:30 p.m. Session 5

4:45-5:30 p.m. Author signing (A-Z)

Participating authors

* Arvin Ahmadi

* David Arnold

* Sorboni Banerjee

* Kayla Cagan

* Brittany Cavallaro

* Olivia Cole

* Dave Connis

* Helene Dunbar

* Sarah Enni

* Jessie Ann Foley

* Guadalupe Garcia McCall

* Emily Henry

* Greg Howard

* Kimberly Jones

* Sheba Karim

* Alex London

* Makiia Lucier

* Lizzy Mason

* Cindy Pon

* Justin Reynolds

* Gilly Segal

* Megan Shepherd

* Amber Smith

* Destiny Soria

* April Tucholke

* Jasmine Warga

* Rick Yancey

* Jeff Zentner