Sorboni Banerjee (left) and Dominique Richardson (right) with renowned author R.L. Stine.

A young adult reading and leadership festival is coming to Tampa Bay in October with workshops, in-person author panels and book signings on Friday and Saturday, October 13-14. Acclaimed Goosebumps and Fear Street author R.L. Stine will be speaking and signing books. Best of all, the festival, YA by the Bay, is free to students in high school and under.

Spearheaded by Dominique Richardson and Sorboni Banerjee, Tampa Bay authors of the Everbeach series, YA by the Bay is centered on the dual idea of fusing literacy and leadership to inspire youth to make a difference and achieve their dreams. The slogan of the festival is “Be the author of your own life.”

Richardson explained that a love of reading and words can have a lifelong impact.

“We are focusing on leadership because we want them to believe in themselves and know how to voice their passion and create a life they want,” Richardson said.

YA by the Bay promotes the value of words, both read and expressed, and brings together teachers, students, authors and community members to celebrate literature. Day one of the festival is for students and teachers; it is a high school field trip coordinated within the district. Day two is open to the public and free for students.

Both Richardson and Banerjee believe in the power words can have on a person’s life.

Banerjee is an Emmy Award winning television news reporter and anchor.

“After over two decades of reporting stories that impact the community, I’ve witnessed firsthand the power of storytelling as a connecting force,” Banerjee said.

Richardson said anyone who is a fan of young adult literature should attend on October 14.

“YA by the Bay is a celebration of literature and the power of storytelling. From writing legend R.L. Stine to multiple New York Times bestselling authors, attendees have an incredible opportunity to meet and learn from leading authors in the industry,” Richardson said.

Saturday’s schedule includes Stine speaking at 10 a.m. and signing books at 11 a.m., a three-panel author session is at 11:30 a.m., four keynote authors speaking at 2:30 p.m. and, at 3:30 p.m., the event concludes with book signings from all of the authors.

YA by the Bay will be hosted at Tampa Bay Convention Center, located at 333 S. Franklin St. in Tampa. For more information, visit Author profiles are available on Instagram @yabythebay. To register for YA by the Bay, visit

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