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Youth Spotlight Project

Happy New Year from Plenitude!

To start 2020 off right, we’re launching a special Youth Spotlight project this month. Stories by young queer and trans authors about teen/YA (young adult) experiences don’t receive as much attention as they should, so we’ve selected two fiction and two creative nonfiction pieces by emerging YA writers to be showcased in excerpts on Plenitude!

We’re very lucky to have paired with Rob Bittner, who interviewed each of the four writers about their prose pieces. The four YA writers to be featured include Annie Bhuiyan, James Cawkwell, Rhyan St. Louis, and Emma Bishop (click the writer’s name to be taken to their interview and story excerpt). We’ll post a different excerpt and interview each week on Plenitude starting January 7, so stay tuned!

Here’s what Rob Bittner had to say about leading Plenitude’s Youth Spotlight project:

“As a scholar of LGBTQ2S+ literature for children and youth, I often read books that are written by adults about youth, but I very rarely have the opportunity to read literature written by young people themselves. When Plenitude approached me to work with some younger people who had submitted short stories, I was thrilled at the opportunity. Adults often approach young adulthood in their work through a lens of nostalgia, even when they are close to young people in their lives, but young people are writing in the moment, from their current experiences. And the young people whose stories I have worked on, are certainly coming from just that position.

For each of the submissions, I had the opportunity to ask questions of the authors, about their processes, their influences, and their current projects. Furthermore, I had the chance to read their full stories, so even though all that will be available here is a sample, I can guarantee the full stories are just as amazing as the pieces I had to edit down. What I found to be intriguing about the submissions is that the genres and styles differ; while some pieces are semi-autobiographical or nonfiction, others are purely fictional. But one commonality is that they are all beautifully written and give a glimpse into the minds of young writers.

It was an absolute pleasure to read through each of these pieces, interview the authors, and spend time reading and absorbing the stories. I hope you all enjoy their work as much as I do!”


Rob Bittner has a PhD in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies (SFU), and is also a graduate of the MA in Children’s Literature program at The University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC. He loves reading a wide range of literature, but particularly stories with diverse depictions of gender and sexuality.