Many of the kids are excited to meet their favorite authors and maybe get an autograph.
Some will ask for additional background information about a character or two they’ve identified with.
Still, many of the high school and middle school students from across Suffolk who head to St. Joseph’s College each year for Authors Unlimited will want to learn about writing itself.
“One of the interesting things is, the kids really want to speak with the authors about the craft of writing. When do [the authors] write? Where? Where do they get their inspiration?” said Elizabeth Pollicino Murphy, the executive director of libraries at St. Joseph’s College who helps coordinate the day-long event.
April 16 will mark the fifth Authors Unlimited at St. Joseph’s. It runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Patchogue campus.
The teen reading festival is the brainchild of the Suffolk Cooperative Library System and is put together by librarians across the county.
The first event was in 2011. This is the fifth installment. (They took one year off.)
Derek Ivie, the library system’s youth services coordinator, said such opportunities to meet known authors typically accompany a trip to New York City.
“Here, they don’t have to travel too far from home and they get to meet some of their favorite authors whose books they see on the shelves of their local libraries,” Ivie said.
The authors start in a group panel in the auditorium, before moving into breakout sessions. The lineup is typically a mix of fledgling and more established authors, with new authors being invited every year.
But there has been one mainstay: crowd-pleaser George O’Connor. a graphic novel artist and creator of the Olympians series.
“They’re incredibly popular,” Ivie said of the Greek mythology stories.
“The kids, they flock,” said Pollicino Murphy. “We need to set aside the biggest room for him, because he’s such a draw.”
Click here for event details and to learn more about the authors.
Authors Unlimited is free, but students and parents are asked to register ahead of time.
Caption: Author Elizabeth Kiem at last year’s Authors Unlimited. (courtesy)