BookTalk, a free virtual book conference spearheaded by 30 creators on TikTok, launched its inaugural event on August 6–8. With a focus on uplifting marginalized voices in publishing, more than 2,500 attendees registered to watch more than 60 authors—many of them bestsellers—speak on all things bookish. The BookTalk team has plans to continue next year with another event, including more activities, panels, and workshops. We’ve gathered YA highlights from the event.

(Clockwise from top l.): TikTok creators Daisy (@daisreads) and Ayman (@AymansBooks) led a conversation with authors J. Elle, Katy Rose Pool, Janella Angeles, and Ashaye Brown on why fictional characters, worlds, and actions are so valuable for YA readers.

The “From Point A to Point B” panel on world-building featured authors (clockwise from top c.) Adalyn Grace, Swati Teerdhala, Tricia Levenseller, and Tanaz Bhathena with TikTokker moderators Reni K. Amayo (@ReniKAmayo) and Sally (@SalPal1723).

Author Sona Charaipotra (bottom row, c.) spoke about her undiagnosed ADHD during the “Disability Awareness” panel on issues of disability representation both in books and in the publishing field. Also participating were (clockwise from top r.) Lillie Lainoff, Natalia Sylvester, and Madison Parrotta. The discussion was moderated by (top row, from l.) Faye (@literarylesbian) and Brenna (@chronicallybrenna).

During the “Panel About Panels,” (clockwise from top l.) moderator Claire (@LibraryOfClaire) spoke with author-illustrators Huda Fahmy, Tillie Walden, Bre Indigo, and Mariko Tamaki about creating graphic novels that accurately represent people of different identities.

The “Reading Rainbow” panel brought together authors (clockwise from top r.) KaliVictoria Wilson, Victoria Lee, Phil Stamper, and Adiba Jaigirdar for a discussion about the obstacles that come when writing and publishing books starring queer characters. The panel was moderated by (from top row, l.) Sami (@samisbookshelf) and Laynie Rose (@thelaynierose).

Authors (clockwise from top c.) Mason Deaver, Lillie Lainoff, L.L. McKinney, and Supriya Kelkar talked about the first time they saw themselves reflected in the books they read, during the “Representation Matters” panel led by Olivia (@oliviaabtahi) and Azanta (@AzantaReads).