Two YA Titans Travel to Topeka to Celebrate Readers, Writers, and Great Books

An Interview with Steven B. Frank and Gary Schmidt


  • Danny Wade Washburn University
  • Kevin B. Kienholz Emporia State University



young adult literature, Steven B. Frank, Gary Schmidt


This article comprises two face-to-face interviews conducted with prominent young adult authors at the 2019 Literature Festival held on the campus of Washburn University. Writers Steven B. Frank and Gary Schmidt both discuss their approaches to writing, the unique challenges related to writing for young readers, and the important role that truth telling plays in their own writing,among numerous other topics related to young adult literature. Both Frank and Schmidt provide insight into their most recent novels, Class Action and Pay Attention, Carter Jones, respectively. The article concludes with an appreciation for the literacy outreach done by Professor Jack Bushman as the driving force behind the Literature Festival for the past 26 years.

Author Biographies

  • Danny Wade, Washburn University

    Danny Wade is an associate professor of English Education at Washburn University. He earned his B.S., M.Ed., and English Education from the University of Oklahoma. He also taught middle school and high school English for six years (Oklahoma and Colorado) and served four years as the K-12 English language arts director for the Moore (Oklahoma) Public Schools. He currently teaches Secondary English Methods, Teaching Young Adult Literature, and Advanced College Writing for Teachers. He can be reached at

  • Kevin B. Kienholz, Emporia State University

    Dr. Kevin Kienholz is a professor in the Department of English, Modern Languages, and Journalism at Emporia State University, where he works primarily with undergraduates preparing to teach middle and high school English. He joined the faculty at ESU in the fall of 2000 after having taught high school English for seven years in his home state of Oklahoma.