2015 NBA Teen Press Conference

At the annual National Book Awards Teen Press Conference, middle and high school students from New York City's public and private schools will play the role of reporters as they direct questions to the five Finalists for the 2015 National Book Award in Young People's Literature.

The Teen Press Conference gives middle and high school students from New York City’s public and private schools who are interested in writing, reading, and journalism the opportunity to meet and interview the current five National Book Award Finalists in Young People’s Literature on a professional level. Students are encouraged to demonstrate the curiosity and ambition of a reporter who is granted an interview with an important public figure. At the event authors read from their honored work, respond to questions and comments from the students, and sign the students’ books. The event is moderated by a published author or a prominent figure in the book world.

For the 18th Teen Press Conference, the National Book Foundation moved its location to the 92nd Street Y, in order to increase the number of students who can attend from 300 to 600, and to live stream the event across the world.

Below are video highlights of Jacqueline Woodson and LeVar Burton’s conversation about the reading experience, questions from students, and candid responses from the 2015 five Young People’s Literature Finalists.

LeVar Burton discuss with Jacqueline Woodson about his reading in the digital realm vs reading a visible book.

Noelle Stevenson tells her favorite part in Nimona.


Ali Benjamin talks who inspired her as a child.

Steve Sheinkin’s struggle when writing Most Dangerous.

How Neil Shusterman’s emotional struggle was a healing process when writing Challenger Deep.

All five Finalists responds to the question “If you won the National Book Awards, how would you feel?”


Watch the 2015 NBA Teen press conference


Bigger and On the Road

To celebrate, expand, and enhance the cultural value of great writing, the National Book Foundation partnered with the 92nd Street Y for the 2015 Teen Press Conference to increase the number of students attending the event in New York City from 300 to 600. This year, for the first time, the Teen Press Conference will go on the road, its first stop in Miami, at the 2015 Miami Book Festival International and include authors Longlisted for the National Book Award. In Miami, over 200 students will attend the Teen Press Conference event.
92nd Street YNovember 17
92nd Street Y, New York City
Featuring the current 2015 Young People’s Literature Finalists
Jacqueline Woodson, the 2014 National Book Award Winner for Young People’s Literature, will host the event.
Miami Book FairNovember 20
Miami Book Festival International, Miami Florida
Featuring the 2015 National Book Award Authors for Young People’s Literature


Featuring the 2015 National Book Award Finalists in Young People’s Literature:

2015 NBA YL Longlist

  • Ali Benjamin, The Thing About Jellyfish (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
  • Laura Ruby, Bone Gap (Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins Children's Books)
  • Steve Sheinkin, Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War (Roaring Brook Press/Macmillan Children's Publishing Group)
  • Neal Shusterman, Challenger Deep (HarperCollins Children's Books)
  • Noelle Stevenson, Nimona (HarperTeen/HarperCollins Children's Books)



How to Interview an Author: Advice from Literary Journalists

Carolyn Kellogg, Los Angeles Times

A single question is hard, but here's a generic one that can give an author a chance to talk not just about their process, but about the content of the book (which authors love to do): When you were working on this book, did you write anything that made you cry, or laugh out loud?

And here's one that can elicit a great answer. More than 20 years ago, my friend and I were brainstorming on a car trip to go interview the band The Flaming Lips -- we had no idea what to ask them! This was our silliest question: What's the grossest thing you ever stepped in -- or ate?


Lynn Neary, National Public Radio

Your questions have to be based in your reading of the author’s work. What were you curious about, what didn’t you understand, what provoked your emotions and how did the writer manage to do that?  For example, writers often are very attached to their characters. But you won’t find that out by asking: how do you feel about a character?  To be honest, the best part of an author interview usually happens spontaneously after you have been talking for a while.  I think it is important to win the trust of whoever you are interviewing so that they let their guard down a bit and say something genuine.