Sayers Lecture to Be Delivered by Matt de la Peña, Feb. 9

Children's and YA author and winner of the NCTE Intellectual Freedom Award will speak at UCLA, Feb. 9.

The 2020 Frances Clarke Sayers Lecture will be delivered at UCLA on Sunday, Feb. 9, by Matt de la Peña, Newbery-winning author of children’s and young adult books and 2016 recipient of the Intellectual Freedom Award from the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). The event, which will take place in the Grand Horizon Ballroom at Covel Commons, will begin at 4 p.m. with a talk by de la Peña, followed by a reception and book signing at 5 p.m.

Regularly featured on The New York Times bestseller lists, de la Peña is the author of seven young adult novels including “Mexican WhiteBoy,” “We Were Here,” and “Superman: Dawnbreaker.” His children’s books include his 2015 work, “Last Stop on Market Street,” illustrated by Christian Robinson. In 2016, “Last Stop” was recognized with the Newbery Medal, a Caldecott Honor, and the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor.

The author of five award-winning picture books, de la Peña has worked with major children’s illustrators such as Christian Robinson and Loren Long. His 2017 “Miguel and the Grand Harmony,” which was a tie-in to the Pixar animated feature, “Coco,” was illustrated by Ana Ramírez, Pixar visual development artist. The book was published by Disney in both English and Spanish. “Superman: Dawnbreaker” is de la Peña’s most recent YA book, published in 2019.

In 2010, de la Peña’s YA novel, “Mexican WhiteBoy” was banned from the curriculum at Tucson High School in attempts by Arizona legislators to eliminate Mexican-American studies. The author, who had been invited to the school to speak in 2012, donated his speaker’s fee to purchase copies of “Mexican WhiteBoy” for the students.

De la Peña has published short fiction and essays in various newspapers and literary journals, including Time Magazine, The New York Times,, The Writer, Pacific Review, One Teen Story, The Vincent Brothers Review, Chiricú, George Mason Review, and Allegheny Literary Review.

De la Peña received his MFA in creative writing from San Diego State University and his BA from the University of the Pacific (UOP), where he attended school on a full athletic scholarship for basketball. In 2019, de la Peña was awarded an honorary doctorate from UOP. He currently lives in Brooklyn and teaches creative writing and visits schools and colleges all over the country.

The Frances Clarke Sayers Lecture is an annual UCLA event that features the best of today’s award-winning authors and illustrators of children’s literature. The event is sponsored by the UCLA Department of Information Studies as a tribute to Frances Clarke Sayers (1897-1989), a former UCLA faculty member who was a noted American children’s librarian, author of children’s books, lecturer, and outspoken advocate for excellence in children’s literature.

Admission to this event is free. However, seating is limited and registration is required. Complimentary parking is available in the Sunset Village (SV) structure on campus.

The Grand Horizons Ballroom at Covel Commons is located at 200 De Neve Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90024.

To attend the 2020 Frances Clarke Sayers Lecture by Matt de la Peña, visit this Eventbrite link.

For more information, contact or phone (310) 206-0375.