A fat, Puerto Rican woman in her mid-thirties with long, dark, curly hair, black cateye glasses, and wearing a small smile and a star-speckled navy and gold dress.




Crystal Maldonado is a young adult author who writes inclusive stories about fat, brown girls. Her debut novel, Fat Chance, Charlie Vega, is a 2021 New England Book Award winner, a Cosmopolitan Best New Book, and a POPSUGAR Best New YA Novel. Her newest novel, No Filter and Other Lies, explores teenage life in the social media age—and the lies we tell to ourselves and others. By day, Crystal works in higher-ed marketing, and by night, she is a writer whose work has been published in Latina, BuzzFeed, and the Hartford Courant. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English and journalism, with a minor in women’s studies, from the University of Connecticut. She currently lives in western Massachusetts with her husband, daughter, and dog. Follow her everywhere @crystalwrote or visit her website.


SESSION: Be the Main Character: How to Use Your Own Life to Inspire Your Craft

What does it mean to write what you know, and how can you use your own personal experiences, memories, and senses in your craft to develop your story’s voice? In this workshop, we’ll explore how to draw from our own life experiences to successfully create inspiring, authentic, and heartfelt narratives, while tapping into your best resource: you.

We’ll examine passages from young adult authors Julie Murphy, Adib Khorram, Aiden Thomas, and Laura Taylor Namey. Please come prepared with one memory from your youth that you’d like to work with in this session. Though this class will focus on YA voice, the exercises can be applied to writing for any age group.