TORONTO, CANADA: Building on years of great author appearances, debut books, and a variety of programming, The Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) is proud to present its first-ever official Young Adult programming stream and Featured Guests for the 2019 Edition. Highlighting a strong array of debuting work for readers across the Young Adult age-range of 12 years old to 18 years old, TCAF aims to create a great experience for fans of the YA category and genre at the 2019 Festival, taking place May 11th & 12th, in Toronto, Canada.

“We’ve long been both readers and proponents of YA,” said TCAF Artistic Director Christopher Butcher. “Until now we’ve integrated some of the incredible, bestselling YA authors that we’ve been fortunate enough to welcome to TCAF into our general program, trusting interested young readers to find the material they’re looking for. But as the market changes, and the fandom changes, we want to make sure that we’re putting these creators out in front where fans will see them, and for us that means a branded program, in partnership with some of the category’s top publishers.”

This year, TCAF’s 100+ hours of programming will have a clearly labeled “YA” stream in all panel descriptions and grids, and clearer search tools and pages on the TCAF website, In addition, the website and program guide will feature a YA program overview so that even casual attendees can discover these authors and their works at the Festival.

“YA fans will also find lots to love in our general and kids’ programs,” continued Butcher. “Previously announced creators like horror comics maestros Junji Ito and Emily Carroll, or the WicDiv creative team of Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie, already have huge teen fanbases thanks to solid books with great characters, and the work of the dedicated comics librarian community. Many of our creators are featured on the ‘YALSA’ Great Graphic Novels for Teens lists, and while TCAF has been a festival for all ages for years now, and I’m glad we’re taking steps together to make great work easier to find for the reading public.”

TCAF’s full slate of programming will be unveiled in April, ahead of the main Festival May 11th and 12th. The YA stream will encompass readings, panel discussions, and creative workshops, in addition to author autograph sessions. Visit for more info.

Now, keep reading to be introduced to some of this year’s Featured Young Adult Authors!

Featured Young Adult Author Guests of TCAF 2019 Include:

Flavia Biondi: Born in Castelfiorentino, Italy, in 1988, Biondi is an accomplished Italian graphic novelist whose breakthrough work, Generations, was published in English in 2017 by Lion Forge. This story of a gay young man returning home to the small town he had fled resonated with readers across the world, and we’re so pleased to finally welcome her to Toronto. Flavia Biondi’s participation is supported by EuropeComics.

Kevin Panetta and Savanna Ganucheau: Co-creators Panetta and Ganucheau attend TCAF in support of BLOOM, a new teen LGBTQ romance graphic novel published by First Second. The team behind numerous popular licensed comic books have turned their attention to this charming new story of generational responsibility and first loves in a seaside bakery, debuting at the 2019 Festival.

Renee Nault: Author of the popular webcomic Witchling, creator Renee Nault has turned her considerable skill to adapting Margaret Atwood’s classic dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale into a graphic novel, published by Penguin Random House Canada. Debuting at TCAF 2019, Nault will be attend TCAF in support of this lush, unsettling new adaptation.

Ryan North: Toronto writer Ryan North broke into the medium with Dinosaur Comics, his experimental formalist daily webcomic. Since then, he has won an Eisner and become a New York Times Bestselling Author, with his most recent work being the nonfiction How To Invent Everything, and chronicling the continuing adventures of smash-hit The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl for Marvel Comics.

Sarah Winifred Searle: Australia-based Searle is the author of numerous comic short stories, and attends TCAF for the debut of her first full-length graphic novel, Sincerely, Harriet, published by Graphic Universe! Sincerely, Harriett explores the power of imagination and storytelling a beautiful graphic novel intended for younger YA readers.

Mariko Tamaki and Rosemary Valero-O’Connell: Canadian Governor General’s Award-winning author Mariko Tamaki (Skim, This One Summer) joins illustrator and Eisner-nominee Rosemary Valero-O’Connell (What Is Left) to bring to life the LGBTQ graphic novel Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me, published by First Second Books and debuting at TCAF. A sweet and spirited tale of young love, it asks us to consider what happens when we ditch the toxic relationships we crave to embrace the healthy ones we need.

Coleen AF Venable and Ellen T. Crenshaw: Eisner-nominated Colleen AF Venable and acclaimed illustrator and cartoonist Ellen T. Crenshaw team for the TCAF Debut YA graphic novel Kiss Number 8. A coming-out story about family, friendship, and a young woman’s first love, Kiss Number 8 is published by First Second and will debut at TCAF 2019.

Tillie Walden: Critically acclaimed cartoonist and illustrator Tillie Walden hails from Austin, Texas. Born in 1996, she is a graduate of the Centre for Cartoon Studies, has published 3 books (with Avery Hill Publishing), and was nominated for an Eisner Award. Walden will attend TCAF in support of her most recent release, On A Sunbeam, published by First Second.


These Featured Young Adult Guests join the amazing array of international creators, artist collectives, and publishers who are already-announced for TCAF 2019. Look forward to further announcements, including the announcements of the TCAF 2019 Featured Kids Author Guests and Program, later this week.

Head over to to see the more than 350 cartoonists and publishers already announced, and keep watching our newsletter and social media for up-to-the-minute announcements!


Twitter: @TorontoComics





Please include in your listings.

Toronto Public Library & The Beguiling Present
The Toronto Comic Arts Festival 2019
@ Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge Street
Professional Development: Friday May 10
Exhibition: Saturday May 11, 9am5-pm, and Sunday May 12, 10am-5pm
Free to attend |

Attendance is free to all events.

Some events will require tickets, info TBA.

Select Guest Bios and Images available upon request. Please send all inquiries to

For more about YALSA, The Young Adult Library Services Association, visit


The Toronto Comic Arts Festival would not be possible without the assistance of our sponsors and partners, including presenting sponsor Toronto Public Library and primary sponsor The Beguiling Books & Art.

TCAF is produced with the support of the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council.

We would also like to acknowledge funding support from the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario.

We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts. / Nous remercions le Conseil des arts du Canada de son soutien.

Seneca College is a proud Sponsor of TCAF 2019.

TCAF would like to thank the publishers and cultural organizations for their help arranging the participation of the authors mentioned in this press release, including EuropeComics, First Second, Lerner Publishing Group, Lion Forge, and Penguin Random House Canada.

Sponsorship opportunities for TCAF 2019 are still available, please email us at: for more info.