Keynote Speakers Announced for #utopYA2014

Utopia Announcements, Authors

I am over the moon (see what I did there) that I finally get to share with you today the amazing keynotes speakers we have secured for #utopYA2014.

Are you sitting down or have somewhere soft and cushy to fall because here we go…

The Friday, June 20, 2014 YA Keynote speaker is Gennifer Albin, the author of the popular young adult Crewel World series that has found itself on many “best of” lists recently, as well as the new adult Good Girls Don’t series.

The Saturday, June 21, 2014 NA Keynote speaker is Sylvia Day, creator of the hunky Gideon Cross of the hugely successful Crossfire series, in addition to many more steamy novels that have made her the 6th most searched author on Google in 2013.

Why we chose these speakers for you:


Gennifer Albin

We were thisclose to confirming our Friday YA keynote speaker when BAM. Our contact vanished into thin air…at least that’s what it felt like. For a few weeks we tried everything to get back in contact, but to no avail. Sometimes in this whirlwind new publishing industry, there comes an unexpected changing of the guard, so to speak. We had no choice but to move on to someone else.

Fast forward a month. I am reading a book that had been getting a lot of buzz called Crewel about a sixteen-year-old girl with the ability to weave time with matter. I devoured the first two books in the series in a couple days.

I know a lot of you are like me and you read everything in the book, including the Acknowledgements and author notes. In the back of Crewel, Gennifer included a post from her blog titled “Hope,” where she shared her story of vulnerability, of despair, and of ultimate triumph with her debut novel Crewel, which landed her seven agent offers of representation and a subsequent bidding war between five publishing houses.

Ultimately, the story she shared was less one of her “wins” in the industry, and definitely more one of hope. A hope that resonated so loudly within me that I immediately scheduled a utopYA team meeting, and simply said “I’ve found our keynote speaker.” I read the passage to the team who were left speechless with goosebumps on their arms. We all felt profoundly the connection and impact Gennifer will surely have on all of you.

I believe that what happened with the person we thought was going to be the keynote speaker, was meant to be (and we’ve since reconnected with them on other items — eep). Gennifer Albin is supposed to be the Friday keynote speaker this year. And I, for one, can’t wait to meet her in person.

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Sylvia Day

What can you say about Sylvia Day? Well, now that I’ve been speaking with her team for some time, I can say that she is a kindred spirit. She very much knows what the term hybrid author means from personal experience. She’s also a big fan and writer of paranormal, AND she is a force in the raging (hormones) new adult category. I honestly didn’t know if we could get her. I mean, Sylvia Day? She’s huge, and we’re this li’l ol’ conference in Tennessee. But I reach for the stars when I want something, and I went for it.

I could not be happier that the timing was serendipitous for Sylvia, and that she is excited to be joining us next year. I have been fangirling and squeeing for over a month now. Do you see why it was killing me not being able to share this news with you?! Holy hell. Sylvia-freaking-Day.

Sylvia Day is the #1 New York Times and #1 international best-selling author of over 20 award-winning novels sold in more than 40 countries. She is a #1 best-selling author in 21 countries, with tens of millions of copies of her books in print. Her work has been covered in Time, Variety, People, The Wall Street Journal, Cosmopolitan, the Associated Press, USA Today and Entertainment Weekly, to name just a few.

Day’s mega popular “Crossfire” series, which includes “Bared to You,” “Reflected in You,” “Entwined with You,” and the upcoming “Captivated by You,” has been optioned for television by Lionsgate, and she has been nominated for many readers awards.

Please let them know you can NOT wait to see them next year by tweeting them, liking their pages and welcoming them to the utopYA circle.

Gennifer Albin: on Twitter @GenniferAlbin and on

Sylvia Day: on and on Twitter @SylDay.

 And BUY your tickets to utopYA NOW before the price goes up in February.