Penny Holroyde has worked in publishing for over twenty years. She started her career at picture book powerhouse Walker Books where she dealt in foreign rights across the globe before relocating to Walker’s sister company, Candlewick Press, in the USA as Director of Rights and Licensing. She became an agent in 2005 and worked with Caroline Sheldon for ten years. In 2015 she founded Holroyde Cartey with long-term colleague and friend Claire Cartey, ex Art Director of Hodder Children’s Books. Holroyde Cartey focuses equally on the written as well as the visual word and represents some of the greats in this field such as Jenni Desmond, Tor Freeman, Debi Gliori, Tim Hopgood, Chris Mould and Sam Usher.
Natalie Doherty is Commissioning Editor for Fiction at Penguin Random House Children’s. She began her publishing career in Rights and Contracts at Hodder, and moved into Editorial – and into children’s publishing – in 2010. Since then she has acquired, edited and published a large number of wonderful and hard-working authors, including Robin Stevens (the Murder Most Unladylike series), R J Palacio (Wonder), Tom Fletcher (The Christmasaurus) and Moira Fowley-Doyle (The Accident Season). As a lifelong fan, she is privileged to be Jacqueline Wilson’s editor.
Stephanie has over 24 years of experience in children’s publishing, beginning at Walker Books, where she learnt her craft as a designer. After 15 wonderful years she "left home," moving to Orchard Books as Deputy Art Director, then Art Director, where she specialized in front-list picture books. In 2010 she took up the Head of Design position at Nosy Crow, a new independent children’s publisher, which quickly became hugely successful and award-winning. In 2016 Stephanie joined Bloomsbury as Creative Director of Children’s and Educational books, where she continues to uphold high standards of design, producing high quality, bespoke books that deliver escapism, emotional journeys and entertainment to the reader. She lives in North London with her daughter, the strongest critic of her work.
Gemma Cooper started her publishing career in New York, then spent several years working in London, and now lives in Chicago. She joined the Bent Agency in 2012 where she works with authors based all over the world who write for every age of children – from picture books to young adult, fiction and non-fiction. Gemma has a soft spot for all types of middle grade fiction, young adult romance, funny chapter books and animal protagonists. She also loves a good punny title and a book with a big hook that can be summed up in one line. Gemma loves working with SCBWI members.
Kendra Levin is an Executive Editor at Viking Children’s Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House, where she has spent eleven years working on a wide range of children’s literature from picture books to young adult novels. She has edited Theodor Seuss Geisel award winner Don’t Throw It to Mo! by David A. Adler, Society of Illustrators Gold Award winner The Lost House by B.B. Cronin, and the work of authors including Janet Fox, Julie Berry, Alwyn Hamilton, and others. Kendra also helps writers as a teacher and certified life coach, and is the author of The Hero is You, a grounded self-help guide to a healthier writing process. Visit her at kendracoaching.com and follow her @kendralevin.
Laurent Linn, Art Director for Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, began his career as a puppet designer/builder in Jim Henson's Muppet Workshop, creating characters for various productions, including the Muppet Christmas Carol and Muppet Treasure Island films. With Henson for over a decade, he worked primarily on Sesame Street, becoming the Creative Director for the Sesame Street Muppets, winning an Emmy Award. Currently, at Simon & Schuster, Laurent art directs picture books, middle-grade, and teen novels, collaborating with illustrators and authors such as Tomie dePaola, Patricia Polacco, Bryan Collier, E. B. Lewis, Raúl Colón, Debbie Ohi and Taeeun Yoo. Laurent is on the Board of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and is Artistic Advisor for the annual Original Art exhibit at the Society of Illustrators in New York. He is also an author: his debut illustrated teen novel is Draw the Line. You can follow him on Twitter/Instagram/Facebook and at www.LaurentLinn.com
Angela Cerrito is an author and a playwright whose work explores issues of identity and cultural perceptions. Her novel, THE SAFEST LIE (Holiday House), about a young girl smuggled out of the Warsaw ghetto, is based on research in Warsaw, Poland, including interviewing Irena Sendler and reading transcripts of interviews with Jewish children recorded at the end of the war. This research was made possible through SCBWI's Kimberly Colen Memorial Grant. THE SAFEST LIE was a Guardian’s Best Children’s Book of the Year and a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award. THE END OF THE LINE, about a boy coming to terms with his role in the death of a friend, received several awards including VOYA’s Top of the Top Shelf. Her plays have been produced in the US and Europe. Angela has lived in the US, China and Italy. She currently resides in Germany.
Awarded the Lifetime Social Justice Literature Award for her body of work by the International Literacy Association and an Order of Australia, Susanne Gervay is recognized for her youth literature and writing on social justice. Susanne’s young adult Butterflies is recognized as Outstanding Youth Literature on Disability, while her picture books Elephants Have Wings, Ships in the Field and Gracie and Josh are recognized for their engagement with disability, inclusion, multiculturalism and peace. The I Am Jack books have become rite-of-passage on school bullying, and adapted into an acclaimed play by Monkey Baa Theatre, it continues to tour Australian and US theatres. An award-winning short story writer, her stories sit alongside David Malouf and Thomas Kenealley. Susanne’s books are endorsed by Room to Read, bringing literacy to the children of the developing world; The Cancer Council; The Alannah & Madeline Foundation; Variety, the children’s charity; the Children’s Hospital, Westmead, Sydney; Life Education and many educational organizations. www.sgervay.com
Chris Mould – Author/Illustrator
Chris Mould was born and raised in West Yorkshire where he still lives with his family. He is one of twenty studio artists at the prestigious Dean Clough Mills arts and business complex. His published work ranges from picture books to young fiction, and throughout a long career he has also produced theater posters, editorial cartoons for major newspapers and character development work for animated features. Chris has won the Nottingham Children’s Book Award and the Swiss Prix Enfantasie Best Children’s Novel Award, and has been short-listed for numerous others including the Kate Greenaway Medal and the Sheffield Children’s Book Award. Chris is the author/illustrator of many picture books and young fiction, including the hugely successful Something Wickedly Weird series, and he also illustrates for others, such as Matt Haig's A Boy Called Christmas and The Girl Who Saved Christmas.
Robin Stevens was born in California and grew up in an Oxford college, across the road from the house where Alice in Wonderland lived. She has been making up stories all her life. When she was twelve, her father handed her a copy of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and she realised that she wanted to be either Hercule Poirot or Agatha Christie when she grew up. When it occurred to her that she was never going to be able to grow her own spectacular walrus moustache, she decided that Agatha Christie was the more achieveable option. She spent her teenage years at Cheltenham Ladies' College, reading a lot of murder mysteries and hoping that she'd get the chance to do some detecting herself (she didn't). She went to university, where she studied crime fiction, and then worked at a children's publisher. Robin now lives in London with her husband and her pet bearded dragon, Watson. She's the author of the internationally best-selling Murder Most Unladylike series, and has won the Waterstone's Children's Book Prize and the Oxfordshire Book Award.