KATHI APPELT is the New York Times best-selling author of more than forty books for children and young adults. Her first novel, THE UNDERNEATH, was named a National Book Award Finalist, a Newbery Honor Book, and won the PEN USA Literature for Children Award. That was followed by KEEPER, which was named an NCTE Notable Children’s Book and a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year. Her memoir, MY FATHER’S SUMMERS, won the Paterson Prize for Young Adult Poetry. Ms. Appelt was presented with the A.C. Greene Award by the Friends of Abilene Public Library, which named her a “Texas Distinguished Author.”
Her novel, THE TRUE BLUE SCOUTS OF SUGAR MAN SWAMP, was named a National Book Award Finalist and won the Green Earth Award, the Texas Institute of Letters Award, and the Judy Lopez Memorial Award. Her picture book, MISS LADY BIRD’S WILDFLOWERS, illustrated by Joy Fisher Hein, won the “Growing Green Kids” award from the Junior Master Gardeners. Her most recent picture book, COUNTING CROWS (illustrated by Rob Dunlavey), was a finalist for the Writers League of Texas Award. Her novel, MAYBE A FOX (co-written with Alison McGhee) won the Jean Flynn Award given by the Texas Institute of Letters, and was also named to the Texas Bluebonnet Master List. ANGEL THIEVES, her newest book, is her first young adult novel.
She and her husband Ken live in College Station, TX with six adorable cats, Django, Peach, Mingus, Chica, Jazz and Ace. For more information, check her website: www.kathiappelt.com.
NAOMI COLTHURST is a Commissioning Editor at Penguin Random House Children’s (UK), working across fiction and non-fiction (though mostly focusing on fiction) for readers aged 7+. She started her career at Hot Key Books, part of Bonnier Publishing, and then moved over to join the children’s team at Faber & Faber. She joined Penguin Random House in early 2017, and is proud to work with beloved authors such as John Boyne, Joseph Delaney, Jonathan Stroud and Paul Stewart & Chris Riddell, as well as commissioning new and exciting debut talent.
ELIZABETH DULEMBA (a.k.a. ‘e’) is an author, illustrator, teacher, blogger, and speaker (including TED) with over two-dozen books to her credit from board books to her Georgia Author of the Year Award-winning novel A Bird on Water Street (Sourcebooks, 2014). Her most recent picture books as illustrator, MerBaby’s Lullaby (Simon & Schuster, 2019), Crow Not Crow and On Eagle Cove (2018 & 19, Cornell Lab) were written by New York Times Bestselling Author, Jane Yolen. Elizabeth holds a BFA in Graphic Design from the University of Georgia, an MFA in Illustration from the University of Edinburgh, and is currently a PhD Researcher in Children’s Literature at the University of Glasgow, where she is also a Graduate Teaching Assistant. In the summers she is Visiting Associate Professor in the Hollins University MFA in Children’s Book Writing and Illustrating program in Virginia (US). Before moving to Scotland, she was Illustrator Coordinator for the SCBWI US Southeast region and a Board Member for the Georgia Center for the Book. She also hosts children’s book creators and giveaways on her blog. Visit http://dulemba.com to learn more and subscribe to her weekly newsletter.
MARIA T. MIDDLETON is the Art Director for Imprints at Candlewick Press and Walker Books US. She began her career at HarperCollins and spent more than a decade designing award-winning books for Abrams Books and then for Random House Children’s Books. Maria works across a variety of formats and genres for kids of all ages, including board books and picture books, middle-grade and young adult fiction, graphic novels, and non-fiction. Most notable are Max & the Midknights by Lincoln Peirce, The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty, and Inkling by Kenneth Oppel. Maria is drawn to out-of-the-box thinking, hand-lettered typography, and quirky but lovable characters. She’s a southerner at heart, a New Yorker by choice, a fan of serial commas, strong coffee, and the color red. You can find her at mariamiddleton.com and follow her on Instagram and Twitter @mariatmiddleton.
ANDREA NAASAN studied German Literature and Art History in Munich, Freiburg and London. She’s been working as an editor at NordSüd for over 10 years and has turned many promising projects into reality. These cover everything from board books and classic picture books to non-fiction and collections. There are hardly any subjects Andrea is not prepared to tackle in 32 pages. Alongside this she is also the editor of author/illustrator Marcus Pfister and his prestigious Rainbow Fish series. Reviewing portfolios and project ideas is central to Andrea’s work, especially at the Frankfurt and Bologna Book fairs where she is always on the lookout for exciting newcomers or trends. Andrea lives near Zurich with her husband and daughter.
MOLLY O’NEILL is a literary agent with Root Literary. For the past fifteen years, she has held various roles inside the publishing industry: previously, she was an Agent at Waxman Leavell Literary Agency; an Editor at HarperCollins Children’s Books, where she acquired Veronica Roth’s juggernaut Divergent series, among many other fantastic projects; the Head of Editorial at Storybird, a publishing/tech start-up; and a member the School & Library Marketing departments at both HarperCollins and Clarion Books. She loves the creative process and early-stage project development, is invigorated by business strategy and entrepreneurial thinking, and is fascinated by the intersections of art, commerce, creativity, and innovation. Molly is especially passionate about the people behind books, and takes pride in discovering and evangelizing talented authors and illustrators, expanding the global reach of their work, and finding new ways to build connections and community among creators, readers, stories, and their champions. Learn more at mollyoneillbooks.com.
MARCUS PFISTER has published over 40 titles with NorthSouth Books. His 1992 title, The Rainbow Fish took the bestseller lists by storm. To date, more than 30 million copies have been sold worldwide, appearing in over 50 different languages. In his studio overlooking the Swiss capital, Marcus Pfister continues to create new characters and stories.
ANDREW RUSHTON is originally from England but now lives and works in Switzerland. He has worked in the book trade both as a bookseller and publisher for over 20 years. Andrew joined NordSüd in 2008 as manager for International Markets and is now Associate Publisher with a special emphasis on the US Imprint–NorthSouth Books. His main responsibilities include producing and developing the US program, managing International Rights Sales and developing partnerships both with other publishing houses and with corporate clients. Andrew spends a lot of time looking for new talent and helping them to develop and grow. Outside of work Andrew has a young family but still finds time for his other interests: music, cinema, football and cooking.
CHITRA SOUNDAR is an Indian-born British author and storyteller based in London, England. She has written over 30 books for children, published across Asia, Europe and North America. As a kid, she won the first prize in storytelling when she was 9 years old, danced in a Bollywood movie, acted in plays written by her mum and wrote poetry. Chitra grew up on a wholesome diet of stories from Indian epics and folk wisdom. She has been a teacher, programmer and a manager before she became a full-time writer. Find out more about her at www.chitrasoundar.com or follow her on Twitter @csoundar or Instagram at @chitrasoundar.
ALICE SUTHERLAND-HAWES is the Rights and Children’s Agent at Madeleine Milburn Ltd, growing the children’s & YA list at the agency, including illustrators.
She began her career as a bookseller before working at The Agency for three years, where she gained an invaluable insight into the publishing industry. Whilst at The Agency she negotiated multiple UK deals and helped sell rights across the world in titles including A Kestrel For A Knave, the Paddington books and Malorie Blackman’s books. Along with books, she has a passion for films and spent some time as a film critic.
JENNIFER “JAY” WHISTLER has over 30 years of professional writing experience and over 16 years of college-level teaching experience. She holds an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts, an MA in Technical Writing from Bowling Green State University, and a BA in Written Communications from Eastern Michigan University. She has extensive freelance experience editing middle-grade, young-adult, and adult novels, picture books (including rhyming and nonfiction), and short stories. She has been a judge for several high-profile writing contests, and is a current submissions editor for Hunger Mountain journal. She is an editor with Angelella Editorial services, is also an acquiring reader for a literary agency. Jay is the former Regional Advisor for SCBWI Switzerland and looks forward to seeing old friends and making new ones.