Bijal Vachharajani is a senior editor at Pratham Books where she leads a team that creates open access picture books. A journalist with over 19 years of experience in writing, communication, and education for sustainable development, she has a Masters in Environment Security and Peace from the University of Peace in Costa Rica. The former editor of Time Out Bengaluru, Bijal is an award-winning children’s author.
Carol Tilley (Associate Professor, School of Information Sciences, University of Illinois) studies the social and cultural history of comics reading and readers with special attention given to the nexus of libraries, comics, and youth. Tilley was a 2016 Eisner Award judge and is a past president of the Comics Studies Society.
Clelia Gore is Vice President of Martin Literary & Media Management, where she is also a literary agent. She is currently on an expat stint in Singapore, but calls Seattle, Washington home. She represents authors of children’s and young adult books for the U.S. market, including best-selling and award-winning books.
Dexter Ong is Head of Asia for Wattpad Studios, based in Hong Kong. He oversees Wattpad Studio’s expansion in Asian markets, working with local entertainment studios, producers and writers to turn Wattpad stories into film, television, print and digital projects.
Felicia Low-Jimenez https://differenceengine.sg/
Felicia has worked in bookselling and publishing for over a decade. She is one half of AJ Low, the writing team behind the best-selling Sherlock Sam series and Publisher at Difference Engine, an independent comics publisher. She believes that stories have the power to change the world.
Joanna Cárdenas is Senior Editor at Kokila, an imprint of Penguin Random House. She has worked on many award-winning books including The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Pérez as well as the highly-anticipated Stand Up, Yumi Chung! by Jessica Kim. She is on the steering committee for Latinx in Publishing, a non-profit organization that promotes literature by, for, and about Latino/a/x people. Joanna is also co-founder of the Representation Matters Mentor Program for aspiring editors of colour and was a Publishers Weekly Star Watch Honoree in 2015.
Find her on Twitter @joannananamc.
Dr Junko Yokota is Director of the Center for Teaching through Children’s Books and Professor Emeritus at National Louis University (Chicago). Her research focuses on picture book illustration and translation, multicultural and international literature, and digital storytelling. Her publications include six editions of Children’s Books in Children’s Hands, 60+ journal articles, and 20+ book chapters.
Lisa Hoppe http://www.lisamajellahoppe.com
Lisa is the Writer and Producer of H is for Happiness – a family feature film which premiered at the Melbourne International Film Festival in August 2019 and screened in competition at CinefestOz in September, winning “Best Film”. She has produced a number of short films that screened around the world including Godel, Incomplete (starring Elizabeth Debicki), and the AWGIE Award winning Heck, which she also co-‐wrote. From 2017 to 2018 Lisa worked as a Creative Producer with A Stark Production, producers of children’s film and television content including The Deep. Lisa’s extensive experience as writer, script editor and script producer has seen her work on Australian TV shows across a range of genres and formats including Heartbreak High, All Saints, White Collar Blue, Hi 5 and Guess How Much I Love You.
Lynette Teo is an assistant editor at Epigram Books. She has an interest in working with authors and illustrators for early reader board books, children’s picture books and middle grade to early young adult novels. Lynette is also a published picture book author, making her debut with the book X and O are BFFs!
Mariko Nagai is an award-winning writer and a sought-after speaker on poetry for children. She is the recipient of UNESCO-Aschberg Bursary for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center residency, Yaddo residency, amongst many others. She is the author of Dust of Eden (Albert Whitman 2014), Under the Broken Sky (MacMillan USA 2019), and the forthcoming The Sword of Yesterday (MacMillan USA 2021). She is Professor of Japanese Literature and Creative Writing at Temple University Japan Campus in Tokyo and Co-Regional Advisor of SCBWI Japan.
Minh Lê http://minhlebooks.com/new
Minh Lê is the author of Drawn Together (winner of the 2019 Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature) illustrated by Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat, Let Me Finish! (named an NPR Best Book of 2016) illustrated by Isabel Roxas, and The Perfect Seat illustrated by Gus Gordon (all published by Disney-Hyperion). He is also writing Green Lantern: Legacy, a middle grade graphic novel (illustrated by Andie Tong) for DC Comics. In addition to writing books, he has written for a variety of publications, including the New York Times, The Horn Book, NPR, and HuffPost. (Photo by Danielle Lurie)
Nora Nazerene Abu Bakar
Nora Nazerene Abu Bakar is the executive editor at Penguin Random House SEA, responsible for discovering and publishing different voices across the region. With over 12 years of experience in the publishing industry, her network of relationships and keen knowledge of the region will be key in establishing a publishing presence for Penguin Random House SEA in the market.
Peter Florence, MBE is a British festival director, most notable for founding the Hay Festival with his father, Norman Florence.
He was educated at Ipswich School, Jesus College, Cambridge and the University of Paris and has an MA in Modern and Medieval Literatures. He holds honorary doctorates from The Open University and The University of Glamorgan, and is a Fellow of Hereford College of Arts, The Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama and the British-American Project, and is Creative Fellow at the University of Bangor. He was made a Colombiano de Corazon by President Alvaro Uribe for his work in Colombia.
Peter Herbert is a seasoned writer, producer and executive producer for many national and international companies, among them Crawford Productions, PBL Productions, Taffner Ramsay, Beyond International and Granada. He produced the inaugural Comedy Festival Charity Gala in 1992 and created The World Comedy Tour in 2000. He also produced the 34th Annual TV Week Logies, and has created or co-created a number of series, among them Skirts, The Comedy Sale! and The Big Wig for Sky1 in the UK. Working with Caroline Aherne of The Royle Family, he co-created, co-wrote and produced the BBC2 comedy series, Dossa and Joe.
Peter has taught at a number of universities in screen business, creative industries and producing. He is currently Head of Screen Business and Producing at the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS).
Dr Pieter Aquilia is the Head of Screenwriting at the the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS). She is a scriptwriter, script editor and director, who has combined her creative practice with a career in academia. Formerly an Associate Dean and Associate Arts Professor for NYU Tisch School of the Arts Asia, she was also Associate Professor and Head of Program at UNSW Asia and University of Newcastle. Her research publications cover International Television Drama, the Globalization of Screen Education, Ethnic and Gender Representation on Screen, and the Media in Asia.
Remy Lai writes and draws stories for kids. Her books include graphic novel/prose hybrids Pie in the Sky and Fly on the Wall (September 2020), and two upcoming graphic novels - Pawcasso (2021) and Bima the Elephant (2022). She lives in Australia, where she can often be found exploring the woods with her dogs.
Rushton Hurley https://nextvista.org
Rushton Hurley is the founder and executive director of Next Vista for Learning, which houses a free library of videos by and for teachers and students at NextVista.org.
Rushton has spent decades exploring innovative possibilities for bringing together proven approaches with cutting-edge technologies, from his graduate research at Stanford University, to his work with teenagers as both a high school teacher of Japanese language and a principal of an online school, to speaking at conferences and trainings around the world, to 2017's 5-Day Teacher Challenge. He is the author of two books, Making Your School Something Special and Making Your Teaching Something Special.
Sayoni Basu was the cofounder of Duckbill Books, an indie children's publishing house, which is now an imprint of Penguin Random House India. She has earlier worked in Penguin, Scholastic and OUP. She likes everything about books apart from dusting them.
Tina Narang is the Children’s Publisher at HarperCollins India, having joined in 2017 to launch the children’s imprint, HarperCollins Children’s Books. Previously, Tina was with Scholastic India from 2005-2017 and has presented three papers at AFCC 2015.
Tohby Riddle is a multi-award-winning picture book creator. His books have been published in many languages – one even translated by Haruki Murakami.
His new book is The Astronaut’s Cat.
Trevor Lai is an award-winning entrepreneur, author-illustrator, and the founder of Up Studios, one of the leading animation studios in China. Since publishing his first book at the age of 17, Trevor has written and illustrated over 25 children’s books, including the Piggy and Tomo series. Trevor created the Super BOOMi television series, which has topped national ratings on CCTV and Hunan TV, and serves as the show’s director and executive producer. Leading technology and media giant Tencent has invested in both the Super BOOMi and Piggy series, which have amassed more than 3.8 billion views online. Trevor also hosted over 100 episodes of Thoughtful China, a talk show about creativity, media and business in China.