Read the bios for the 2014 Austin SCBWI Writers & Illustrators Working Conference speakers below. Click here for more information and to register for the conference. And click here to see the schedule.
MATT DE LA PEÑA is the author of five critically acclaimed young adult novels—Ball Don't Lie, Mexican WhiteBoy, We Were Here, I Will Save You and The Living—as well as the award-winning picture book A Nation’s Hope: The story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis.
Matt received his MFA in creative writing from San Diego State University and his BA from the University of the Pacific, where he attended school on a full athletic scholarship for basketball.
Matt currently lives in Brooklyn, New York. He teaches creative writing and visits high schools and colleges throughout the country. Read his brilliant essay on NPR.
Visit Matt at MattdelaPeña.com
KELLY MURPHY is an award-winning illustrator working predominantly with traditional and mixed media. Born and raised in southeastern Massachusetts, USA, she studied illustration at the Rhode Island School of Design, her student work receiving distinction from The Society of Illustrators. Since earning a bachelor of fine arts in 1999, Kelly has been globally freelancing across the various fields of editorial, educational and book illustration as well as character design and concept art for the film, theater and toy industries.
An accomplished children's book author and illustrator, Kelly's books have been published by worldwide leading publishing houses and translated in 13 languages, earning starred reviews and countless awards. Kelly's books have been consistently selected by the Society of Illustrators for its Original Art show, and feature on best books of the year lists by Kirkus Reviews, People magazine and the New York Times. Her twenty-third, twenty-fourth and twenty-fifth books were published in 2013.
Kelly's work has been featured in international curated shows, gallery exhibitions and magazines and has been distinguished in the field's most prestigious juried competitions, notably winning recognition from American Illustration, The Society of Illustrators and 3×3 magazine. In 2009 Kelly Murphy earned an E.B. White Read Aloud Award for illustrating the New York Times Best Seller Masterpiece and in 2011 she was awarded a Silver Award in the 3×3 Magazine Children's Show for her editorial illustration work. In 2012, Kelly received a Gold Award and a Bronze Award from the Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles. In 2013, she received an additional 2 Gold Awards in the Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles's Book and Children's market categories, and was a 3×3 Magazine Spotlight Illustrator.
On the side of these numerous and versatile creative achievements, Kelly has engaged in a lasting involvement with art education and has been a member of the illustration faculty at the Montserrat College of Art since 2002, the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in the Fall of 2008 and the Rhode Island School of Design since Spring of 2009. She and her husband, illustrator Antoine Revoy, reside in New England.
Find out more about Kelly at KelMurphy.com
Writers & Illustrators
LIZ GARTON SCANLON is the author of the highly acclaimed, Caldecott-honored picture book All the World, illustrated by Marla Frazee, as well as Happy Birthday, Bunny, illustrated by Stephanie Graegin, Think Big, illustrated by Vanessa Newton, and others.
Upcoming books include The Good-Pie Party, a picture book due in early 2014, and her first novel for young readers, The Great Good Summer, due in 2015.
Liz is also a poet, a teacher and a frequent and popular presenter at schools, libraries and conferences. To learn more, visit her web site at www.LizGartonScanlon.com.
BETHANY HEGEDUS’ books include Truth with a Capital T (Delacorte/Random House) and Between Us Baxters (WestSide Books). Both novels were named to the Bank Street Books Best Books, with Between Us Baxters garnering a star for outstanding recognition. Forthcoming from Atheneum/Simon & Schuster is the picture book Grandfather Gandhi, co-authored with Arun Gandhi, grandson of the Mahatma.
Bethany has served as theHunger Mountain Young Adult & Children’s Editor since 2009. A graduate of the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA program in Writing for Children & Young Adults, Bethany is the Owner and Creative Director of The Writing Barn, a writing retreat, workshop and event space in Austin, Texas.
A former educator, Bethany speaks and teaches across the country. Visit her at BethanyHegedus.com
P. J. HOOVER fell in love with Greek mythology in sixth grade thanks to the book Mythology by Edith Hamilton. After a fifteen-year bout as an electrical engineer designing computer chips for a living, P. J. decided to take her own stab at mythology and started writing books for kids and teens.
When not writing, P. J. spends time with her husband and two kids and enjoys practicing kung fu, solving Rubik's cubes, and watching Star Trek.
Her first novel for teens, Solstice (Tor Teen, June 2013), takes place in a global warming future and explores the parallel world of mythology beside our own. Her middle grade novel, Tut (Tor Children's, 2014), tells the story of a young immortal King Tut, who's been stuck in middle school for over 3,000 years and must defeat an ancient enemy with the help of a dorky kid from school, a mysterious Egyptian princess, and a one-eyed cat.
P. J. is also a member of The Texas Sweethearts & Scoundrels. For more information about P. J. (Tricia) Hoover, please visit her website www.PJHoover.com.
NIKKI LOFTIN is the author of two middle grade novels: The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy (2012), and Nightingale's Nest (2014), both published by Razorbill/Penguin. Nikki’s short children’s fiction has appeared in Boy’s Life and Pockets magazines, and she is a contributor to Dear Teen Me: Authors Write Letters to Their Teen Selves (Zest books, Nov. 2012).
Nikki has served as keynote speaker for regional writing organizations and library conferences, and has presented at schools from Austin, Texas, to Tokyo, Japan.
The mother of two middle grade-aged readers, she has spent most of her professional life working with children and young adults, first as a Music and Gifted and Talented teacher, and later as Director of Family Ministries for Presbyterian churches. Vist her at www.NikkiLoftin.com.
DON TATE has illustrated numerous critically acclaimed books for children including The Cart That Carried Martin (Charlesbridge, 2013); Hope's Gift (Penguin, 2012); Duke Ellington's Nutcracker Suite (Charlesbridge); and Ron's Big Mission (Penguin).
Don's first book as an author, It Jes' Happened: When Bill Traylor Started to Draw (Lee & Low, 2012), has received numerous awards such as an Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Honor; a Kirkus Best Children’s Books List Selection; a Booklist Editors’ Choice, 2012; and made the New York Public Library’s Top 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing, among others.
Don is also one of the founding hosts of the blog The Brown Bookshelf, a blog dedicated to books for African American young readers with book reviews, and author and illustrator interviews.
Don’s career includes illustrating and writing for children’s books, and speaking at schools. He has presented to students of all ages at schools all over Texas and beyond. Don lives with is wife and son in Austin, Texas.
Find out more about Don at DonTate.com
SARAH KETCHERSID is an executive editor at Candlewick Press where she has edited such books as Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein, Rabbit and Robot by Cece Bell, Big Mean Mike by Michelle Knudsen and Scott Magoon, A Visitor for Bear by Bonny Becker and Kady MacDonald Denton, Charley’s First Night by Amy Hest and Helen Oxenbury, Above World by Jenn Reese, the ‘Ology series, as well as many others.
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 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, including I, Too, Am America, by Langston Hughes, illustrated by Bryan Collier; Never Play Music Right Next to the Zoo by John Lithgow, illustrated by Leeza Hernandez; The Scarecrow’s Dance, by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline; Better Nate Than Ever, by Tim Federle; and the Rot & Ruin YA series by Jonathan Maberry.
Laurent is Creative Advisor for the annual Original Art exhibit at the Society of Illustrators in New York. www.LaurentLinn.com
MADELINE SMOOT is the publisher of CBAY Books, a traditional royalty-based press, and former Editorial Director of Blooming Tree Press.
She has also experimented with self-publishing her own books independent of any publishing house (including CBAY).
In other words, Madeline knows a lot about traditional and non-traditional publishing and the process of bringing a book to market.
LAURA WHITAKER is an Associate Editor at Bloomsbury Children’s Books. She grew up in Northern Virginia and once spent a summer in high school reading the entire children’s book section (picture books through YA) from A to Z. She attended Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where she double majored in English literature and broadcast journalism because she was curious about the Midwest. She quickly learned that long johns and thermal underwear in general are NOT just for people who live in Alaska. She received her masters in publishing from NYU and even though she has lived in New York City for over eight and a half years, she still considers herself Southern (the logic being that her best friend is Southern and she is, by association, therefore Southern as well).
Laura edits everything from picture books through YA. She worked on literary thrillers Conjured by Sarah Beth Durst (Walker BFYR, 2013) and Insanity by Susan Vaught (Bloomsbury, 2014) and forthcoming contemporary coming-of-age novel This Side of Home by Renée Watson (Bloomsbury, 2015). She also edited Ruthie and the (Not So) Very Busy Day by Laura Rankin (Bloomsbury, 2014) and worked on the Penguin pictures books by Salina Yoon.
While open to books for all age ranges, she is particularly interested in innovative, soul-searing literary fiction and knee-melting romances that capture the beauty and freshness of first love. She also loves well-researched and expertly crafted historical adventure stories and edgy, wrenching and unforgettable coming-of-age novels that deal with sensitive topics and issues. She is actively searching for quirky, funny and honest picture books that present first experiences in an unexpected light.
When she’s not reading, editing or talking about children’s books, Laura can be found trying to teach herself how to cook (and failing miserably, even though her roommate kindly says that her food tastes delicious), dreaming about someday owning a miniature schnauzer, avidly trying to catch up on her favorite TV shows, and walking around marveling at the magnificence that is New York City. You can follow her on twitter @laura_gemma.
ABIGAIL SAMOUN was an in-house children’s book editor for over ten years, working on a wide range of projects, from board books to young adult novels. Her books received such honors as the CCBC Charlotte Zolotow award, the New York Public Library Ezra Jack Keats award, and the Pura Belpre.
In 2011, Abigail made the transition from editing to agenting, co-founding Red Fox Literary with Karen Grencik. The agency now represents over seventy authors and illustrators and is one of Publishers Marketplace’s “top dealmakers.”
Abigail also is the author of three forthcoming children’s books, What’s In Your Purse? (Chronicle Books, 2014) and How Aligator Says Goodbye and How Hippo Says Hello (Sterling Publishing, 2014).
Abigail lives in Sonoma, California, with her entomologist husband, two dogs, a gaggle of chickens, and a curious little boy named Tristan. Visit www.RedFoxLiterary.com.
LIZA PULITZER VOGES represents over 40 authors and author-illustrators of books for young readers from pre-school through young adult. Their books have won numerous awards over the past twenty-five years.
She started Eden Street in 2009 and is looking to expand her middle grade list. Her clients in this genre include Dan Gutman (My Weird School series, The Genius Files series, The Baseball Card Adventure series), Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams (The Goddess Girls series and forthcoming Grimmtastic Girls series and Heroes in Training series).
She looks for strong voice and is particularly taken with magical realism.
She is a lover of picture books too and again looks for strong character and voice in this genre.