Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Meet Our 2020 Conference Faculty: Karen Chaplin

Meet the faculty of the 2020 Austin SCBWI Writers & Illustrators Working Conference. We’ve asked all our faculty members to answer 4 quick questions so we can get to know them better.

Karen Chaplin, Executive Editor, HarperCollins Children’s Books

Karen Chaplin acquires and edits middle-grade and young adult fiction and nonfiction as well as picture books and graphic novels. Authors she has worked with include New York Times bestselling authors Tim Green and Amy Ewing (The Jewel trilogy), New York Times bestselling author Margot Lee Shetterly (Hidden Figures Young Readers’ Edition and picture book), PW Flying Start Paul Mosier (Train I Ride), two-time Edgar Award Nominee Lamar Giles (Fake ID and Endangered), Caela Carter (ALA Notable Forever, or a Long, Long Time), Jennifer Lynn Alvarez (The Guardian Herd series; Riders of the Realm series), Kathleen Krull (Fly High, John Glenn), Rebecca Ross (The Queen’s Rising), and Paula Stokes (Liars, Inc., Girl Against the Universe). She’s also worked with such illustrators as Laura Freeman, Maurizio Quarello, and Iacopo Bruno.

Karen Chaplin
Karen Chaplin

What attracted you to children’s books?

Some of the most meaningful books I’ve read have been children’s books, and I’m thrilled that I get to go into work everyday, collaborate with amazing authors and artists, and publish books for new generations of children. The possibility of a child finding a book that stays with them into their adulthood, that becomes so meaningful to them and shows them another slice of life–or reflects their own life in a way that is validating…that’s one of the exciting things about publishing for children.

What’s the best part of your job?

Working with the authors and collaborating with them to make the best book possible.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

There is so much I want to read but there is never enough time! I think just managing that time is always a challenge.

What’s the best piece of advice you were given that helped drive your career?

Always stay curious, work hard, and stick to what you believe in.

Come see Karen Chaplin at the 2020 Austin SCBWI conference, May 2-3, 2020