Rita Williams-Garcia, a Queens, New York, native, is the celebrated author of novels for young adults and middle grade readers. Her middle grade novel Clayton Byrd Goes Underground won the 2018 NAACP Image Award for Literature for Young People and was a 2017 National Book Award Finalist.

Williams-Garcia is most known for her Coretta Scott King Author Award-winning Gaither Sisters trilogy that begins with One Crazy Summer, recipient of the Newbery Honor and the Scott O’Dell Prize for Historical Fiction. She is a three-time Coretta Scott King Author Award recipient and a three-time National Book Award Finalist. Her YA+ historical novel A Sitting in St. James (May 2021), set in 1860 Louisiana, is a recipient of the 2021 Boston Globe/Horn Book prize for fiction.

Williams-Garcia served as a faculty member in the VCFA MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults program from 2005–2015.

Jennifer Nielsen

Visiting Writer

Kirby Larson

Visiting Writer

Oge Mora

Visiting Writer/Illustrator, MFA in WCYA

Cynthia Leitich Smith

Visiting Writer, MFA in WCYA

Lyn Miller-Lachmann

Darrow Lecturer, MFA in WCYA

Yamile Saied Méndez

Visiting Writer