Meg Medina is the author of the middle grade novel Merci Suárez Changes Gears, a finalist for the Kirkus Prize; YA novels Burn Baby Burn; Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass, winner of the Pura Belpré Author Award; and The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind. She also wrote the picture books Mango, Abuela, and Me, a Pura Belpré Illustrator Award Honor Book, and Tía Isa Wants a Car, recipient of an Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award. She lives in Richmond, Virginia.
Elizabeth Partridge is the author of numerous books for children and young adults, including Marching for Freedom, an inspiring look at the fight for the vote, and biographies on John Lennon, Woody Guthrie, and Dorothea Lange. Her latest book, Boots on the Ground: America’s War in Vietnam, was longlisted for the National Book Award. Elizabeth is passionate about bringing long-silenced stories to light, and depth to iconic artists. Her books have received many honors, including the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, National Book Award Finalist, the ALA Michael L. Printz Honor Award, and the SCBWI Golden Kite Award.
Varian Johnson is the author of nine novels, including The Parker Inheritance, which received four starred reviews and was named a 2018 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honor Book, a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year, and a Junior Library Guild selection among other accolades. His middle grade caper novel, The Great Greene Heist, has been named to over twenty-five state reading and best-of lists. In addition, Varian has written numerous novels and short stories for YA audiences. He was born in Florence, South Carolina, and attended the University of Oklahoma, where he received a BS in Civil Engineering. He later received an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, where he now serves as a member of the faculty. Varian lives outside of Austin, TX with his family.
MARION DANE BAUER
Marion Dane Bauer is the author of more than one-hundred books for young people, ranging from novelty and picture books through early readers, both fiction and nonfiction, books on writing, and middle-grade and young-adult novels. She has won numerous awards, including several Minnesota Book Awards, a Jane Addams Peace Association Award for Rain of Fire, an American Library Association Newbery Honor Award for On My Honor, a number of state children’s choice awards and the Kerlan Award from the University of Minnesota for the body of her work. Her books have been translated into more than a dozen different languages. She is also the editor and a contributor to the ground-breaking collection of gay and lesbian short stories, Am I Blue? Coming Out from the Silence. Marion was one of the founding faculty for the Vermont College Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults program. mariondanebauer.com
Holly West is an editor at Feiwel & Friends and Swoon Reads. She grew up in southern Kentucky as “that girl who reads a lot” but in 2005 she escaped to NYC where she was lucky enough to land her dream job of working in publishing. She started out in publicity but soon decided that editing would be much more fun. Working closely with Jean Feiwel, she helped to launch Macmillan’s YA imprint Swoon Reads in 2013, and now spends her days editing chapter books, middle grade and YA novels, and even a few (mostly tech and video game related) non-fiction titles.
Brent Taylor is a literary agent at Triada US. He joined the agency in summer 2014 and started building his list that fall. He represents award-winning and critically acclaimed books for young readers and is actively growing his list of picture books, chapter books, middle grade, young adult, and graphic novels. In addition to his work as an agent, he oversees foreign rights for Triada US. You can find him online at www.btaylorbooks.com and on Twitter @btaylorbooks.
Sarah Aronson began writing for kids and teens when someone in an exercise class dared her to try. Since then, she has earned an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts and published three novels: Head Case, Beyond Lucky, and Believe. Her most recent books are part of a new young MG series about the worst fairy godmother ever, The Wish List(Scholastic, 2017) as well as a forthcoming picture book biography, Just Like Rube Goldberg (Beach Lane Books) coming in Spring 2019, illustrated by Rob Neubecker. When Sarah is not writing or reading (or cooking or riding her bike), she is talking to readers about creativity, writing, social action, and of course, sparkle power! She loves working with other writers in one of her classes at Writers on the Net (writers.com ) or the amazing Highlights Foundation. She is also the cofounder and organizer of the Writing Novels for Young People Retreat at VCFA, now approaching its fifteenth year. She has served as an SCBWI mentor in both Illinois and Michigan. She loves sports. She overuses exclamation points. When she’s excited, she talks with her hands. Like tips? Sign up for her weekly newsletter on the writing process, Monday Motivation, on her website: saraharonson.com.
A recent graduate from VCFA, Carol McAfee has championed the Poetry Friday forum and Poetry-off-the-Page and is currently writing a novel-in-verse about the Bronte sisters. Carol has published three novels: The Climbing Tree (St. Martin’s Press, 1987); Who’s the Kid Around Here, Anyway? (Fawcett Books, young adult, 1989): and Walk among Birches (Sourcebooks, 2000).
DEBBY DAHL EDWARDSON
Debby has lived for nearly 40 years in Utqiaġvik, Alaska, the northernmost community in the country. Her books have earned stars from Booklist and School Library Journal and have been named to a number of lists including Junior Library Guild, ALA/YALSA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults, Booklist’s Top 10 First Novels for Youth and Top Historical Fiction for Young Adults, ILA’s Notable Books for a Global Society, NCSS/CBC Notables and Washington Post’s Best. Her most recent novel My Name is Not Easy was a finalist for the National Book Award. She earned an MFA from Vermont College in 2005 and teaches Iñupiaq History at Ilisaġvik College, Alaska’s only tribal college.