From an African Conga Trio and dancing to meeting accomplished Minnesota authors, hundreds of aspiring authors and artists under age 13 now have an exciting new chapter written in their books.

More than 350 students from 11 area schools and districts - including Pequot Lakes - attended the 2019 Young Authors Conference on Nov. 13-14 at the Central Lakes College-Staples campus. This was the second year Sourcewell coordinated and hosted the event.

Based on experience from last year, this year was expanded to a two-day experience: the first day designed for students in grades four to six, and the second for grades six to eight.

Katie Embree, student academic coordinator at Sourcewell, said popular demand from last year’s event drove the decision to divide the grade levels. And, in doing so, Embree said presenters were better able to focus on each audience and inspire them at their level.

Among the list of award-winning featured presenters was keynote Abby Cooper, a three-time author who discovered her love for writing nearly 20 years ago at a similar young authors conference held in Minneapolis.

Participating schools and districts included Brainerd, Discovery Woods, Henning, Northland, Pequot Lakes, Pierz, Pillager, Royalton, Staples-Motley, Upsala and Wadena-Deer Creek.

A complete photo gallery from the two-day event can be found on Sourcewell’s Facebook page.