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    reading tours

    ‘Kidlit’ authors to talk about genre and community

    David Wilson

    This Saturday at 7 p.m., Brookline Booksmith will host a larger than usual event. Rather than the standard one or two authors, the night will feature seven — count ’em! — writers. Rachele Alpine (“Canary”), Erin Bowen (“Taken”), Mindy Raf (“The Symptoms of My Insanity”), Justina Ireland (“Vengeance Bound”), Alex Lidell (“The Cadet of Tildor”), Kit Grindstaff (“The Flame in the Mist”), and Elisabeth Dahl (“Genie Wishes”) are all members of the Lucky 13s, a group united in their status as first-time authors of books for children and young adults.

    Alpine, who spoke with the Globe from her home in Cleveland, where she teaches high school, says the Lucky 13s have been invaluable. “I don’t know how I would have survived my road to publication without them,” she says. “They’ve really been a lifesaver.”

    The latest installment in a fairly new tradition, the Lucky 13s comprise more than 100 debut authors — from all over the United States, plus the United Kingdom and Australia — all of them writing either middle-grade or young adult fiction (collectively known by authors, librarians, and others as “kidlit”). Their group blog serves as a combination sounding board and cheering section, an online haven for the writers to ask questions, raise ideas, and share news.


    Alpine, who hails the group as “an amazing community,” recently wrote a blog post about the process leading to her book’s cover. The upcoming Brookline reading is one of several planned over the course of the year — mostly arranged by the Lucky 13s themselves, as part of their ongoing collaboration in each other’s successes.

    “I think that the kidlit world is one of the greatest things,” she goes on. “It’s really just so supportive.” It’s difficult to imagine a world in which debut authors of mainstream fiction for adults would celebrate and support one another’s work (as for the opposite — a world in which such writers gripe about one another over cocktails — no imagination is needed).

    Kate Tuttle, a writer and editor, can be reached at