Bookfest Speakers

Hanif Abdurraqib

Cat Acree

Vera Ahiyya

Nawaaz Ahmed

Alejandra Algorta

Oscar Almonte-Espinal

Mary Altman

Hannah Amrollahi

Charlie Jane Anders

Ryka Aoki

Stephanie Appell

Kelsy April

Helen Atsma

Kylie Lee Baker

Tarriona “Tank” Ball

Mac Barnett

Stacey Barney

Lana Bastašić

Rachel Berquist

Regis and Kahran Bethencourt

Robert Bittner

Lauren Blackwood

Carly Bloom

Christine Bollow

Gwenda Bond

Joanie Borders

Pauline Boss

Natasha Bowen

David Bowles

K.C. Boyd

Claire Boyles

Ruth Bradstreet

Jennifer Marie Brissett

Kimberly Brock

Mahogany L. Browne

Kathy Burnette

Adron Buske

Amber Cabral

Cozbi A. Cabrera

Catherine Chapman

Cherae Clark

P. Djèlí Clark

Dhonielle Clayton

Michele Cobb

Margaret Coffee

Alicia Condon

Chris Connolly

Jaime Cortez

Jeanne Costello

Melissa Croce

Andrienne Cruz

Joy Dallanegra-Sanger

Ash Davidson

Bridgett Davis

Charlotte Nicole Davis

Robin Dellabough

Natashia Deón

Hannah Oliver Depp

Kalima DeSuze

Jeff Deutsch

Stacy Dillon

Alda P. Dobbs

Keynote Speaker

Anthony Doerr

Danielle Dreilinger

Linda Duggins

Deidre Dumpson

Samantha Edelson

Olivia Edmunds-Diez

Nivia Evans

Sandra Farag

Virginia Feito

Kelly Fernández

Isaac Fitzsimons

Lauren Francis-Sharma

Michaela Goade

Chloe Gong

Ayana Gray

Connie Griffin

Farah Jasmine Griffin

Caleb Haag

Erin Hahn

Nathan Halter

Estelle Hallick

Liberty Hardy

Zakiya Dalila Harris

Danielle Henderson

Zakia Henderson-Brown

Sarah Hennig

Ashley Henrichs

Maria Hinojosa

Valerie June Hockett

Audrey Huang

Derek Ivie

Nicole De Jackmo

K.M. Jackson

Kosoko Jackson

Timothy Janovsky

Jocelyn Nicole Johnson

Michelle Cassandra Johnson

Kimberly Jones

Keynote Speaker

Tayari Jones

Ramsey Kanaan

Donna Paz Kaufman

Mark Kaufman

Clara-Swan Kennedy

Rosemary Kiladitis

Jisu Kim

Juhea Kim

Linette Kim

Kevin King

Rene Kirkpatrick

Keynote Speaker

TJ Klune

Carrie Koepke

M.J. Kuhn

Thien-Kim Lam

Gianna LaMorte

LaQuette

Chris Lee

Lori M. Lee

Cicely Lewis

Sara Look

Brein Lopez

Corinna Luyken

Christy Lynch

Doma Mahmoud

Nesrine Malik

Kathryn Marguy

Ana Maria

Freya Marske

Kat Martin

Neyda Martinez

Josh Marwell

Dr. Rupa Marya

Jennifer Mathieu

Annie Mazes

Amber McBride

John McDonald

Deanna McFadden

Erica Melnichok

Jean Meltzer

Paul Mendez

Erika Meza

Sarah Miller

Lydia Millet

Denene Millner

Elizabeth Minkel

Kate Moore

Alene Moroni

Bethany C. Morrow

Sarah Munroe

John Mutter

Lalitha Nataraj

Alexis Nedd

Kamrun Nesa

Melissa Nicholas

Claire North

Jenn Northington

Emily Ohanjanians

Suyi Davies Okungbowa

Brian O’Leary

Chibundu Onuzo

Mark Oshiro

Ruth Ozeki

Ariana Paliobagis

Anthony Parisi

Shelley Parker-Chan

Raj Patel

Sajni Patel

Kimberly Patton

Mark Pearson

Christine Peele

Keynote Speaker

Leslye Penelope

Nichole Perkins

Vijay Prashad

Jessica Pryde

Amanda Qassar

Golda Rademacher

Seija Rankin

Kate Rattenborg

Abby Rauscher

Catherine Raven

Ava Reid

Belle Reynoso

Jewell Parker Rhodes

Sara Richmond

Darrell Rigby

Vanessa Riley

Josh Ritter

Farrah Rochon

Cristina Rodriguez

Elias Rodriques

Morgan Rogers

Steven Rogers

Karis Rogerson

Lucinda Roy

Britt Rubiano

John Rubin

Anne Rumberger

Marie Russell

Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Victoria Schwab

Bianca Schwarz

Gilly Segal

Veruschka Selbach

Sharon Shell

Talia Sherer

Lauren Shippen

Maleeha Siddiqui

Clint Smith

Raphael & Opeyemi Sofoluke

Rivers Solomon

Erin Somers

Jamie Southern

Tasha Spillett-Sumner

Divya Srinivasan

Jess Stauffer

Karelia Stetz-Waters

Maggie Stiefvater

Tucker Stone

Kaite Stover

Laura Summers

Tasha Suri

Kristine Swartz

Elaine Tai

Keynote Speaker

Natasha Tarpley

Brandon Taylor

Dustin Thao

Karen Toulon

Ly Tran

Cadwell Turnbull

Julia Turner

Karina Urquhart

Chris Vaccari

Elisabet Velasquez

Rebecca Vnuk

Savanna Walker

Jo Watson

Rebekah Weatherspoon

Sara Wedell

Alexa Wejko

Ellen Whitaker

Jane White

Tia Williams

Jamia Wilson

Jarrod Wilson

Ellen Wright

Phoebe Yeh

Karen Yingling

Ramunda Lark Young

Leslie C. Youngblood

Katie Zhao

Hanif Abdurraqib

Hanif Abdurraqib is a New York Times bestselling poet, essayist, and cultural critic from Columbus, Ohio. His poetry has been published in PEN American, Muzzle, Vinyl, and other journals. His essays and criticism have been published in The New Yorker, Pitchfork, The New York Times, and Fader. He is the author of the poetry collections, The Crown Ain’t Worth Much and A Fortune for Your Disaster, the essay collection They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us and Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to a Tribe Called Quest. Abdurraqib was named guest curator at large at BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) beginning in January 2021 and is the host of the new SONOS podcast Object of Sound. He is a graduate of Beechcroft High School.

Cat Acree

Cat Acree is Deputy Editor at BookPage, where she has been connecting readers with incredible books for more than 10 years. Currently she’s coordinating all fiction and audiobooks coverage, though she’s also handled mysteries, children’s books and YA literature. She’s a longtime arts, design and culture writer in Nashville, Tennessee.

Vera Ahiyya

Vera has taught Kindergarten and first grade for the last 15 years in Austin, Boston, and Brooklyn. Vera’s online presence is dedicated to influencing other educators by spreading her vast knowledge and love of diverse children’s books. Vera’s unwavering commitment to social justice and diversity is also the focal point of her professional development presentations for other educators. Vera lives in Brooklyn with her husband Lonnell and her dog, Mozi.

Nawaaz Ahmed

Nawaaz Ahmed was born in Tamil Nadu, India. Before becoming a novelist, he was a computer scientist, researching search algorithms for Yahoo. He holds an MFA from University of Michigan–Ann Arbor and is the winner of several Hopwood Awards. He has completed residencies at MacDowell, Yaddo, Djerassi, VCCA, and Bread Loaf. He’s also a Kundiman and Lambda Literary Fellow. His fiction has appeared in the Sonora Review and been performed at the Sterling Music Room. He currently lives in Brooklyn.

Alejandra Algorta

Alejandra Algorta is a writer and editor from Bogotá. She is the founder and editor of the poetry publishing house, Cardumen. Neverforgotten: Nuncaseolivida is her debut novel.

Oscar Almonte-Espinal

Oscar is the reader and reviewer behind @booksteahenny on bookstagram. He resides in Philadelphia where he is currently got his undergraduate in English Literature and History. Other than reading, Oscar loves to dance to Megan thee Stallion, watch Rupaul’s Drag Race, and spilling the tea. His favorite genres are literary fiction, nonfiction, and classics. Oscar is also extremely passionate about helping others diversify their book shelf.

Mary Altman

A giant and unrepentant nerd, Mary Altman spends her free time playing video games, watching Critical Role, and reading about fantastical worlds. She started her post-college life studying law before coming to her senses and settling happily in a decades-long editorial career. She has a passion for travel and lives outside of Chicago with her partner and an overflowing TBR pile.

Hannah Amrollahi

Hannah Amrollahi is the Children’s and Young Adult’s Department Manager at The Bookworm. Hannah loves to discover exciting debut authors and share them with readers across the country.

Charlie Jane Anders

Charlie Jane Anders is the former editor-in-chief of io9.com, the popular Gawker Media site devoted to science fiction and fantasy. She is the author of the highly acclaimed science fiction novel, City in the Middle of the Night. Her debut novel, All the Birds in the Sky, won the Nebula Award for Best Novel and was a Hugo Award finalist. Her story, “Six Months, Three Days” won a Hugo Award. She has also had fiction published by McSweeney’s, Lightspeed, and ZYZZYVA. Her journalism has appeared in Salon, the Wall Street Journal, Mother Jones, and many other outlets.

Ryka Aoki

Ryka Aoki (she/her) is a poet, composer, teacher, and novelist whose books include He Mele a Hilo and two Lambda Award finalists, Seasonal Velocities and Why Dust Shall Never Settle Upon This Soul. Ryka’s work has appeared or been recognized in publications including Vogue, Elle, Bustle, Autostraddle, PopSugar, and Buzzfeed. Her poetry was featured at the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, and she was honored by the California State Senate for “extraordinary commitment to the visibility and well-being of Transgender people.”

Stephanie Appell

Stephanie Appell is the associate children’s and YA editor at BookPage magazine in Nashville, Tennessee. Prior to working at BookPage, she served as the Director of Books and Events for Young Readers at Parnassus Books and as a youth services librarian with the Austin Public Library. She holds an MA in media studies and an MIS from The University of Texas at Austin.

Kelsy April

Kelsy April has been a bookseller for over 10 years and has spent her career wearing many hats at both Bank Square Books and Savoy Bookshop & Cafe. Currently, she is the general manager and children’s book buyer for both stores located in Southern New England. When she’s not at the stores, she can likely be found desperately building bookcases to support her ever-growing book collection, or practicing jujutsu.

Helen Atsma

Helen Atsma oversees the Ecco editorial team and primarily acquires literary and book club fiction, along with memoir and some narrative nonfiction. The writers she works with include Rumaan Alam, Nicole Chung, Patrick deWitt, Andrew J. Graff, Juliet Grames, Elizabeth McCracken, Ivy Pochoda, Anthony Veasna So, Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, David Heska Wanbli Weiden, Kevin Wilson, and Laura Zigman. Previously, she was Editorial Director at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Over the course of her career, in roles at Grand Central Publishing and Henry Holt, she has edited a number of New York Times bestselling authors, including Sarah Hepola (Blackout), Jami Attenberg (The Middlesteins), Lily Koppel (The Astronaut Wives Club), Rhoda Janzen (Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, a #1 New York Times bestseller), and Catherine O’Flynn (What Was Lost, winner of the Costa First Novel Award). She began her publishing career in 2002 at Little, Brown.

Kylie Lee Baker

Kylie Lee Baker grew up in Boston and has since lived in Atlanta, Salamanca, and Seoul. Her writing is informed by her heritage (Japanese, Chinese, and Irish), as well as her experiences living abroad as both a student and teacher. She has a B.A. in Creative Writing and Spanish from Emory University and is currently pursuing a Master of Library and Information Science degree at Simmons University. In her free time, she watches horror movies, plays the cello, and bakes too many cookies. The Keeper of Night is her debut novel.

Tarriona “Tank” Ball

Grammy-nominated recording artist, national slam poet and front-woman of her band Tank and the Bangas, Tarriona “Tank” Ball releases her debut poetry collection, Vulnerable AF ($14.99, June 2021) centered around infatuation, love, and heartbreak. Real and raw, Vulnerable AF is the true account of Tank’s very first romantic relationship. From first date, to first kiss, to first “you know what” this collection confronts the lasting scars first-love can have on you when it ends. The real-life story is told with great heart, whimsy, and humor, Vulnerable AF will resonate with all who have been or are going through romantic hardships or have ever questioned their self-worth after heartbreak and came out stronger than before.

Mac Barnett

Mac Barnett is the New York Times–bestselling author of over 20 books for children, including EXTRA YARN and SAM AND DAVE DIG A HOLE, both illustrated by Jon Klassen, and both winners of a Caldecott Honor and the E.B. White Read-Aloud Award. His picture books LEO: A GHOST STORY and THE SKUNK were named two of the Ten Best Illustrated Books of 2015 by the New York Times. Mac writes the Mac B., Kid Spy series and with Jory John, The Terrible Two series. He lives in Oakland.

Stacey Barney

Stacey Barney is an executive editor at G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers. She has edited recent New York Times bestsellers House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland, The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh and Bunheads by American Ballet Theater principal dancer Misty Copeland, as well as Caldecott Honor-winning The Cat Man of Aleppo and New York Times bestselling Ellen Hopkins’ middle grade debut, Closer to Nowhere and New York Times bestselling Katherine Arden’s middle grade series Small Spaces. This spring she welcomed an inspiring picture book biography of African American Environmentalist MaVynee Betsch, Saving American Beach from debut author Heidi King and Caldecott Honoree Ekua Holmes and Olivia Abtahi’s delightful and hilarious debut, Perfectly Parvin. This coming fall she looks forward to the publication of the much anticipated series opener Beasts of Prey by Ayana Gray

Lana Bastašić

Lana Bastašić is a Yugoslav-born writer. She majored in English and holds a master’s degree in cultural studies. She has published three collections of short stories, one book of children’s stories and one of poetry. Her debut novel Catch the Rabbit was shortlisted for the 2019 NIN award and was awarded the 2020 European Union Prize for Literature. She lives in Belgrade.

Rachel Berquist

Rachel Berquist is a Marketing Coordinator on the Education & Library team at Simon & Schuster. She loves reading a wide variety of genres, and her favorites include All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, The Final Revival of Opal and Nev by Dawnie Walton, and House of Sticks by Ly Tran. When her nose isn’t in a book, she enjoys skiing, baking, and board games.

Regis and Kahran Bethencourt

Regis and Kahran Bethencourt are the husband-and-wife duo and the imaginative forces behind CreativeSoul Photography. With more than ten years of working with hundreds of children, families, and brands, they specialize in child and lifestyle photography while incorporating authentic visual storytelling. They live in Atlanta, Georgia.

Robert Bittner

Robert Bittner has a PhD in gender, sexuality, and women’s studies (Simon Fraser University) and is also a graduate of the MA in children’s literature program at the University of British Columbia’s (UBC) iSchool in Vancouver, BC. He studies and writes about a wide range of literature, but particularly enjoys stories with diverse and intersectional depictions of gender and sexuality. He lives in BC with his husband and their pet turtle, Fluffy.

Lauren Blackwood

Lauren Blackwood is a Jamaican American New Yorker living in Virginia who writes Romance-heavy Fantasy for most ages. When not writing, she’s a PTA and violinist who really doesn’t know how to settle on one career field. Within These Wicked Walls is her debut novel.

Carly Bloom

Carly Bloom began her writing career as a family humor columnist and blogger, a pursuit she abandoned when her children grew old enough to literally die from embarrassment. To save their delicate lives, Carly turned to penning steamy, contemporary romance. The kind with bare chests on the covers. Carly and her husband raise their mortified brood of offspring on a cattle ranch in South Texas.

Christine Bollow

Christine Bollow is the Programs and Marketing Manager for Loyalty Bookstores and a Bookstagrammer @readingismagical. She serves on the ABA’s Bookseller Advisory Committee and is a contributor for the Feminist Book Club Podcast. Christine’s book recommendations have been featured in Buzzfeed Books and Elle.com and she was highlighted by Books Forward as one of 10 Bookstagrammers to Follow for Asian & Pacific American Heritage Month. She is a graduate of Barnard College.

Gwenda Bond

Gwenda Bond is the New York Times bestselling author of many novels, including the Lois Lane and Cirque American trilogies. She wrote the first official Stranger Things novel, Suspicious Minds. She also created Dead Air, a serialized mystery and scripted podcast written with Carrie Ryan and Rachel Caine. Not Your Average Hot Guy is her first romantic comedy for adults. Her nonfiction writing has appeared in Publishers Weekly, Locus Magazine, Salon, the Los Angeles Times, and many other publications. She has an MFA in writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She lives in a hundred-year-old house in Lexington, Kentucky, with her husband and their unruly pets. She believes she may have escaped from a 1940s screwball comedy.

Joanie Borders

Joanie works as the UK Marketing Specialist for Edelweiss by Above the Treeline. Hailing from Charleston, SC, she is currently visiting bookshops in the UK for six months. She has a background a bookseller and takes a book with her wherever she goes.

Pauline Boss

Pauline Boss, Ph.D.; Professor Emeritus, University of Minnesota; family therapist; and consultant is a Fellow in the American Psychological Association and American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, and a former president of the National Council on Family Relations. With her groundbreaking work in research and practice, Dr. Boss coined the term ambiguous loss in the 1970s and since then, developed and tested the theory of ambiguous loss, a guide for working with families of the missing, physically or psychologically. She summarized this research and clinical work in her widely acclaimed book, Ambiguous Loss: Learning to Live with Unresolved Grief (Harvard University Press, 2000). In addition to hundreds of academic articles and book chapters, her books include Loss, Trauma, and Resilience: Therapeutic Work with Ambiguous Loss (W. W. Norton, 2006) and Loving Someone Who Has Dementia: How to Find Hope While Coping with Stress and Grief (Jossey-Bass, 2011). Her most recent book is The Myth of Closure: Ambiguous Loss in a Time of Pandemic, to be published by W. W. Norton in November 2021.

Natasha Bowen

Natasha Bowen is a writer, a teacher, and a mother of three children. She is of Nigerian and Welsh descent and lives in Cambridge, England, where she grew up. Natasha studied English and creative writing at Bath Spa University before moving to East London, where she taught for nearly ten years. Her debut book was inspired by her passion for mermaids and African history. She is obsessed with Japanese and German stationery and spends stupid amounts on notebooks, which she then features on her secret Instagram. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, watched over carefully by Milk and Honey, her cat and dog. Follow her on Twitter at @skinofthesea.

David Bowles

David Bowles grew up in the Río Grande Valley of South Texas. As a kid, he would regularly cross the border with his father to visit family, buy historietas, and watch movies. It’s a tradition he continued with his own children, making sure they became part of the transnational community he loves so much. David has written many books that center Mexican Americans in the borderlands, including the award-winning They Call Me Güero and the 13th Street series. My Two Border Towns, available in English and Spanish, is his debut picture book.

K.C. Boyd

K.C. Boyd is currently a school librarian with the Washington D.C. Public School System.  She has previously worked as the Lead Librarian for the East St. Louis School District #189 in East St. Louis, IL., a Area Library Coordinator for Chicago Public Schools and a District  Coordinator for the Mayor Daley Book Club for Middle School Students.  She is a second generation educator and holds Master’s degrees in Library Information Science, Media Communications, and Education Leadership. 

Claire Boyles

Claire Boyles is a writer, teacher, and former sustainable farmer. She received her MFA in creative writing from Colorado State University. Her fiction has appeared in Boulevard and the Kenyon Review. She lives in Loveland, Colorado.

Ruth Bradstreet

Ruth Bradstreet has worked in the book industry for an embarrassingly long time, the last fourteen of which have been with Edelweiss by Above the Treeline. Most of that time was in the United States, but she repatriated to Scotland in 2019 with a nervous dog and a Texan partner, and since then has been an ardent evangelist for Edelweiss in the UK and Europe. When not spreading the word, she can be found trying to figure out what’s growing in the garden of her new highland home.

Jennifer Marie Brissett

Jennifer Marie Brissett is the author of the forthcoming novel Destroyer of Light (Tor Books). She has been a software engineer, web developer, and the proprietor of Indigo Café & Books in Brooklyn. She teaches speculative fiction in the MFA program at Southern New Hampshire University and has a Masters in Creative Writing from the Stonecoast MFA Program. Her stories can be found in Lightspeed Magazine, Motherboard/VICE, Uncanny Magazine, and Morpheus Tales amongst other publications. Her debut novel, Elysium (Aqueduct 2014) received the Philip K. Dick Award Special Citation and has been a finalist for the Locus Award for Best First Novel and the Tiptree Award.

Kimberly Brock

Kimberly Brock is a Bookseller at Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Cincinnati, Ohio. She has been a Bookseller for 8 years. She is currently a member of the Booksellers Advisory Council for the American Booksellers Association. Fantasy, Romance, and YA are her favorite genres. When she is not reading, she is collecting Funko Pops and trying to collect stamps on her passport.

Mahogany L. Browne

Mahogany L. Browne is a writer, organizer & educator. Executive Director of Bowery Poetry Club & Artistic Director of Urban Word NYC & Poetry Coordinator at St. Francis College. Browne has received fellowships from Agnes Gund, Air Serenbe, Cave Canem, Poets House, Mellon Research & Rauschenberg. She is the author of recent works: Chlorine Sky, Woke: A Young Poets Call to Justice, Woke Baby, & Black Girl Magic. As the founder of the diverse lit initiative, Woke Baby Book Fair, Browne is excited to release her newest poetry collection responding to the impact of mass incarceration on women and children, I Remember Death By Its Proximity to What I Love, as well as her upcoming young adult novel Vinyl Moon, a story of survival set under the Brooklyn skyline. Mahogany lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Kathy Burnette

Kathy is the owner of Brain Lair Books which focuses on providing books that promote diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. She works with educators and organizations to nurture, develop, and encourage community-building to improve the social, economic, and quality of life for traditionally marginalized communities.

Adron Buske

Adron Buske is the host of FICTITIOUS, a podcast and YouTube channel devoted to the storytelling craft of science fiction and fantasy. Adron has been a digital media professional since 2001 — including 11 years in the radio industry as a creative director and corporate executive. A frequent speaker and panel moderator at pop culture conventions, he presents discussions and seminars about entertainment careers, genre storytelling, and ways to power-up your life using concepts from gaming and fiction.

Amber Cabral

Amber Cabral is an inclusion strategist, certified coach, writer, and speaker who has been featured on television and in print and digital media. Formerly a Diversity Strategist at Walmart Stores, Inc., she is founder of Cabral Co., a diversity, equity, and inclusive leadership-focused consulting firm. She hosts the You Can Have Whatever You Want podcast and regularly speaks and writes about inclusion, culture, equity, and social justice topics.

Cozbi A. Cabrera

Cozbi A. Cabrera is a multimedia artist. Trained as an art director, this Parsons School of Design grad left her dream job creating music packaging in NY (art direction and design for artists such as Yo-Yo Ma and award winning platinum selling artist Ginuwine) to make handmade collectible cloth dolls (Muñecas) in honor of her Honduran heritage. Her dolls were featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show, Martha Stewart Living, Land Of Nod catalogue, and many US networks. Cozbi’s star reviewed illustrated titles include: Beauty Her Basket by Sandra Belton, Thanks A Million by Nikki Grimes, Stitchin’ and Pullin’ by Patricia McKissack, Most Loved in All the World by Tonya Cherie Hegamin, and Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks by Suzanne Slade. Cozbi has authored/illustrated My Hair Is A Garden and Me and Mama.

Catherine Chapman

Cat Chapman has been a bookseller with the Oxford Exchange Bookstore in Tampa, Florida since 2019.

Cherae Clark

Cherae Clark is the author of The Unbroken, the first book in the Magic of the Lost trilogy. She graduated from Indiana University’s creative writing MFA and was a 2012 Lambda Literary Fellow. She’s been a personal trainer, an English teacher, and an editor, and is some combination thereof as she travels the world. When she’s not writing or working, she’s learning languages, doing P90something, or reading about war and [post-]colonial history. Her work has also appeared in FIYAH, PodCastle, Uncanny, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies.

P. Djèlí Clark

Born in New York and raised mostly in Houston, P. Djèlí Clark spent the formative years of his life in the homeland of his parents, Trinidad and Tobago. He is the award winning and Hugo and Sturgeon nominated author of the novellas The Black God’s Drums and The Haunting of Tram Car 015. His writings have appeared in online venues such as Tor.com, Daily Science Fiction, Heroic Fantasy Quarterly, Apex, Lightspeed, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and in print anthologies including, Griots, Hidden Youth and Clockwork Cairo. His short story “The Secret Lives of the Nine Negro Negro Teeth of Washington” (Fireside Fiction) has earned him both a Nebula and Locus award. He is also a founding member of FIYAH Literary Magazine and an infrequent reviewer at Strange Horizons.

Dhonielle Clayton

Dhonielle Clayton is the New York Times Bestselling author of The Belles series, coauthor of the Tiny Pretty Things duology which is now a Netflix original series, author of the forthcoming MG fantasy series The Marvellers and the YA fairy tale, The Mirror: Shattered Midnight coming this fall. She is also COO of the non-profit We Need Diverse Books.

Michele Cobb

Michele Cobb has served on the Audio Publishers Association board since 2001, as a director and officer, and is currently Executive Director. She is a partner at Forte Business Consulting, which provides Business Development services for the publishing industry, and she is Publisher of both AudioFile Magazine and MMB Media.

Margaret Coffee

Margaret Coffee is what you call “a senior publishing professional” having toiled in both sales and marketing for decades. Before joining Sourcebooks six years ago, she worked at a variety of publishers in the Chicago and New York City areas. She reads various genres and especially loves contemporary fiction and historical titles.

Alicia Condon

Alicia Condon has been editing romance for the last thirty plus years and is currently an Editorial Director at Kensington, where she acquires romance of every kind. She has had the pleasure of working with New York Times bestselling authors Kat Martin, Jayne Ann Krentz, Diana Palmer, Sandra Brown, Sylvia Day and Mary Jo Putney.

Chris Connolly

Chris Connolly is the Marketing Associate of the Library Marketing team at HarperCollins. Hailing from Indiana, he spends his free time reading science fiction and wandering New York City parks.

Jaime Cortez

Jaime Cortez is a graphic novelist, visual artist, writer, teacher, and occasional performer. Cortez has historically used art and humor to explore sexuality, social justice, HIV/AIDS, and Chicano identity.

Jeanne Costello

Jeanne Costello is the General Manager and adult book buyer at Maria’s Bookshop in Durango, Colorado. Jeanne grew up in Durango and attended college at Columbia College in New York City. She worked in the non-profit sector for social and environmental justice before joining the staff of Maria’s Bookshop 16 years ago. She has 2 great kids and 2 annoying cats.

Melissa Croce

Melissa Croce is a recent addition to the Simon & Schuster Education and Library team, joining in November 2020 as a Marketing Manager. Previously, she was at Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group in their School & Library team. She loves to “matchmake” books with readers. When she’s not reading herself, Melissa can be found writing, taking long walks around her neighborhood like a Jane Austen heroine, and spending way too much time online.

Andrienne Cruz

Andrienne Cruz is a public librarian who orders ebooks and loves recommending books! Cruz is a Booklist reviewer, NoveList contributor, and LibraryReads board member. She loves to read a wide variety of books to better prepare for any book requests that might come her way!

Joy Dallanegra-Sanger

Joy Dallanegra-Sanger has worked for books for almost 40 delightful years in bookselling, publishing and in service to independent bookstores for the past 10 years.

Ash Davidson

Ash Davidson was born in Arcata, California, and attended the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her work has been supported by the Arizona Commission on the Arts and MacDowell. She lives in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Bridgett Davis

Bridgett M. Davis is the author of the memoir, The World According To Fannie Davis: My Mother’s Life In The Detroit Numbers, a New York Times Editors’ Choice, a 2020 Michigan Notable Book, and named a Best Book of 2019 by Kirkus Reviews, BuzzFeed, NBC News and Parade Magazine. She is writing the screenplay for the film adaptation of the book, which will be produced by Plan B Entertainment and released by Searchlight Pictures. She is author of two novels, Into the Go-Slow, selected a Best Book of 2014 by the San Francisco Chronicle, and Shifting Through Neutral, shortlisted for the Hurston/Wright Award. She is writer/director of the award-winning feature film Naked Acts. Davis is a creative writing and journalism professor at City University of New York’s Baruch College. Her essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Millions, Real Simple, the LA Times and O, the Oprah Magazine. A graduate of Spelman College and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, she lives in Brooklyn with her family.

Charlotte Nicole Davis

Charlotte Nicole Davis (they/them) is the critically acclaimed author of The Good Luck Girls and loves comic book movies and books with maps in the front. A graduate of The New School’s Writing for Children MFA program, they currently live in Brooklyn.

Robin Dellabough

As projects director for Publishers Lunch/Publishers Marketplace, Robin produces biannual Buzz Books, organizes the Buzz Editors Panels, coordinates social media and marketing, oversees publishing forum, Discuss!, and more. Previously, Robin co-founded book packaging company Lark Productions and worked for Seth Godin’s publishing outfit. Robin has written or edited bestselling books on subjects such as parenting, communications, education, lifestyle, spirituality, the arts, and marketing.

Natashia Deón

Natashia Deón is an NAACP Image Award Nominee, practicing criminal attorney, and college professor. A Pamela Krasney Moral Courage Fellow, Deón is the author of the critically acclaimed debut novel, Grace, which was named a Best Book by The New York Times. Deón has been awarded fellowships by PEN America, Prague’s Creative Writing Program, Dickinson House in Belgium, Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference and the Virginia Center for Creative Arts.

Hannah Oliver Depp

Hannah Oliver Depp is the owner of Loyalty Bookstores in Petworth, DC and Silver Spring, MD. Loyalty serves all readers as a diverse, intersectional feminist bookstore and programming space. She holds a Masters in English from American University. Oliver Depp is a founding member of the American Bookselling Association Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and serves on the boards of Bookshop.org and as the Vice President of the New Atlantic Independent Bookselller’s Assocation.

Kalima DeSuze

Kalima DeSuze is a mom, daughter of immigrants, mom of Kaleb, US Army Veteran, social worker + social activist and now, bookstore owner. She identifies as Afro-Latinx Black Feminist. As such, she realizes that she stands at the intersections of many identities that impact her personally, professionally, and politically. Therefore, has been committed to reconciling and healing all the parts that make the whole using books as common ground to build authentic relationships, initiate dialogue and educate.

Jeff Deutsch

Jeff Deutsch is the director of the Seminary Co-op Bookstores, which include 57th Street Books, both located on the South Side of Chicago. Deutsch sits on the Boards of the New Press and Princeton University Press; holds Advisory Board positions for the Independent Publishers Caucus, Restless Books, and Bookshop.org; serves or has served on the selection committee for the Harold Washington Literary Award, the Chirby (Chicago Review of Books) awards,and the Firecracker awards. His book, In Defense of Good Bookstores, is under contract with Princeton University Press, and slated for publication in 2022.

Stacy Dillon

Stacy Dillon has been a part of the team of librarians at LREI in NYC’s Greenwich Village since 2001. Previously, she worked as a Youth Services Librarian at both NYPL and BPL. Stacy brings a love of learning and a deep knowledge of youth literature to her role. She has served on both the Newbery Committee (2012) and the Caldecott Committee (2017), and is committed to helping children and teens find the right book at the right time.

Alda P. Dobbs

Alda P. Dobbs is the author of the upcoming novel Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna. She was born in a small town in northern Mexico but moved to San Antonio, Texas as a child. Alda studied physics and worked as an engineer before pursuing her love of storytelling. She’s as passionate about connecting children to their past, their communities, different cultures and nature as she is about writing. Alda lives with her husband and two children outside Houston, Texas.

Keynote Speaker

Anthony Doerr

Anthony Doerr is the author of the forthcoming Cloud Cuckoo Land and of All the Light We Cannot See, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the Carnegie Medal, the Alex Award, and a #1 New York Times bestseller. He is also the author of the story collections Memory Wall and The Shell Collector, the novel About Grace, and the memoir Four Seasons in Rome. He has won five O. Henry Prizes, the Rome Prize, the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Award, the National Magazine Award for fiction, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Story Prize. Doerr lives in Boise, Idaho, with his wife and two sons.

Danielle Dreilinger

Danielle Dreilinger is a former New Orleans Times-Picayune education reporter and a Knight-Wallace Journalism Fellow. She also wrote for the Boston Globe and worked at the Boston NPR station WGBH. She lives in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Linda Duggins

Linda believes that literature, the arts, community engagement, and reading are crucial elements to making the world a better place. As co-founder of The Harlem Book Fair, she has been involved in the publishing industry for over twenty-five years, twenty of those years at Grand Central Publishing (an imprint of Hachette Book Group) as a publicist. Octavia E. Butler, Pam Grier, Leesa Cross-Smith, Misty Copeland, Shaquille O’Neal, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are a small fraction of the authors she worked with at GCP. Linda serves on the Board of Directors for the National Book Club Conference, whose mission is to advance literacy and knowledge through reading and dialogue. She is also the President of the Board of Directors of the Queensbridge Scholarship Fund where she helps to facilitate continuing education for full-time college students who are residents of Queensbridge and Ravenswood Houses in NYC. Duggins is currently VP of Strategic Partnerships at Edelweiss by Above the Treeline.

Deidre Dumpson

Deidre Dumpson is the Operations Director and a Bookseller at WORD Bookstores in Brooklyn and New Jersey. For Deidre, the path to this career began when she was able to read books that allowed her to know that her circumstances were never permanent. It expanded when she found that the words and ideas she held on to from books allowed her to navigate the world with confidence and curiosity. It blossomed when she stumbled upon the revolutionary stories written by women of color in her WGSS classrooms. If she could describe her reading tastes with one quote look no further than the OG awkward black girl Issa Rae, “I’m rootin’ for errbody black.”

Samantha Edelson

Samantha Edelson is the Vice President of Marketing at Macmillan Audio where she has worked for the past twelve years. She oversees all of the marketing and publicity efforts there, including advertising, social media, and sales management. Sam is currently the VP of Communications for the Audio Publishers Association. Her audiobook tastes are wide ranging and include narrative nonfiction, light-hearted fiction, and anything with an Australian accent.

Olivia Edmunds-Diez

Olivia is the Business & Education Services Manager at Boulder Book Store, where she has worked since 2017. When she isn’t working, Olivia enjoys reading mysteries and romances. She lives in Boulder, Colorado with her husband and cat.

Nivia Evans

Nivia Evans worked as an English teacher for three years before breaking into publishing. She began her career at the Overlook Press and is currently a Senior Editor at Orbit, where she can indulge in her lifelong obsession with speculative fiction. In 2020, Nivia was named Publishers Weekly Star Watch “Superstar”. She is committed to seeing diverse representation in publishing and often dreams of being as iconic as Pam Grier.

Sandra Farag

Sandra Farag is the Head of Youth Services for Kalamazoo Public Library, where she supervises a team to ensure high standards in collections, programming, and community partnerships—with a focus on equity, diversity, and inclusion. Prior to working at KPL, Sandra was the Manager of Youth Collection Development for Ingram Library Services, providing libraries with curated collections, and developing new and ongoing diversity resources. Sandra also worked for the New York Public Library for 17 years, and also 3 years working simultaneously with NYPL and Brooklyn Public Library as a Supervising Librarian with the Youth Collection Development team. She curated collections for both NYPL and BPL while supporting programs and initiatives. She is active in ALA (ALSC, YALSA, LLAMA, EMIERT, RRT, SRRT) and currently collaborating on projects with BCALA and GNCRT. Sandra has served on award committees such as: #WNDB Walter Award, ALSC’s Batchelder Award, and YALSA’s Excellence in Nonfiction Award.

Virginia Feito

A native of Spain, Virginia Feito was raised in Madrid and Paris, and studied English and drama at Queen Mary University of London. She worked as a copywriter until she quit to write her debut novel. She lives in Madrid.

Kelly Fernández

Kelly Fernández makes comics that are inspired by her daily experiences, Dominican heritage, and American culture. Her work has been featured in comics anthologies, and she won a Chicago Alternative Comics Expo Cupcake Award for her minicomic Cuidando. Kelly is a winner of the Get Published by Graphix contest, and Manu is her debut graphic novel.

Isaac Fitzsimons

Isaac Fitzsimons is a lifetime dabbler in the arts. His background includes performing sketch comedy in college, learning how to play three songs on the banjo, and, of course, writing. He currently lives outside Washington, DC, and does research for an arts advocacy nonprofit in the city.

Lauren Francis-Sharma

Lauren Francis-Sharma is the author of Book of the Little Axe, the 2020 ALA “Libraries Transform Book Pick” and ‘Til the Well Runs Dry, awarded the Honor Fiction Prize by the Black Caucus of the ALA and short-listed for the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing. Lauren holds a bachelor’s degree in English literature with a minor in African-American Studies from the University of Pennsylvania and a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School. She is a contributor to Marita Golden’s 2019 anthology, Us Against Alzheimer’s, and her more recent work can be found at ElectricLit, Barrelhouse, and The Lily. Lauren is a reviewer for The San Francisco Chronicle, a MacDowell Fellow and the Assistant Director of Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference at Middlebury College. Lauren also serves on the board of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation.

Michaela Goade

Michaela Goade, of Tlingit descent, is a Caldecott Award-winning and New York Times bestselling designer and illustrator. She has illustrated a number of picture books, including Encounter by Brittany Luby, We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom, and Shanyaak’utlaax: Salmon Boy, winner of the American Indian Youth Literature Best Picture Book Award, and I Sang You Down from the Stars by Tasha Spillett-Sumner. She lives in Juneau, Alaska.

Chloe Gong

Chloe Gong is a student at the University of Pennsylvania, studying English and international relations. During her breaks, she’s either at home in New Zealand or visiting her many relatives in Shanghai. Chloe has been known to mysteriously appear when “Romeo and Juliet is one of Shakespeare’s best plays and doesn’t deserve its slander in pop culture” is chanted into a mirror three times.

Ayana Gray

Ayana Gray is an author of speculative works and lover of all things monsters, mythos, and #MelaninMagic. Originally from Atlanta, she now lives in sunny Florida where she reads avidly, follows Formula 1 racing, and worries over her adopted baby black rhino, Apollo. Her highly anticipated young adult debut, BEASTS OF PREY, is forthcoming and will be published on September 28, 2021!

Connie Griffin

Connie has been a bookseller at an independent, general interest book store for many years. She has specialized in books for children and young adults. Prior to 2020 she ran the weekly story time for families with young children.

Farah Jasmine Griffin

Farah Jasmine Griffin was the inaugural chair of Department of African American & African Diaspora Studies at Columbia University, where she is also William B. Ransford Professor of English and Comparative Literature. The author of numerous books, she lives in New York.

Caleb Haag

Caleb was born at Sage Memorial Hospital on the Navajo Reservation in the lovely year of 1983 and grew up and spent most of his time in Flagstaff, AZ and on the Navajo Reservation. He moved to the Durango area in 2006 and earned his bachelors degree in Mathematics from Fort Lewis College in 2013. Only took him 7 years! When not at the bookshop Caleb enjoys hiking with his wife in the mountains and desert or simply hanging out with their two cats and two dogs. If at all interested in the sciences or a good fiction book, Caleb might be the person to talk to!

Erin Hahn

Erin Hahn is the author of You’d Be Mine, More Than Maybe, and Never Saw You Coming. She married her very own YA love interest, who she met on her first day of college, and has two kids who are much, much cooler than she ever was at their age. She lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, a.k.a. the greenest place on earth, and has a cat named Gus who plays fetch and a dog named June who doesn’t.

Nathan Halter

Nathan Halter started with Batch for Books in February 2020 to provide training and support to US booksellers using Batch’s invoice management platform. Previously, he worked at the American Booksellers Association and also the Doylestown & Lahaska Bookshops in SE Pennsylvania. He lives in Vermont.

Estelle Hallick

Estelle Hallick is the Associate Director of Publicity and Marketing at Forever, an imprint of Grand Central Publishing, where she works with amazing authors like Abby Jimenez and Farrah Rochon. Before she worked in publishing, she co-founded a book blog with her BFF and credits a great publicist for getting her back into reading romance.

Liberty Hardy

Liberty Hardy is a senior contributing editor for Book Riot and host of the popular All the Books! podcast. She lives in the great state of Maine, where she reads 500-600 books a year and hangs out with her three cats, who hate to read.

Zakiya Dalila Harris

Zakiya Dalila Harris spent nearly three years in editorial at Knopf/Doubleday before leaving to write her debut novel The Other Black Girl. Prior to working in publishing, Zakiya received her MFA in creative writing from The New School. Her essays and book reviews have appeared in Guernica and The Rumpus. She lives in Brooklyn.

Danielle Henderson

Danielle Henderson is a TV writer (Maniac, Dare Me, Harper House), retired freelance writer, and a former editor for Rookie. She cohosts the film podcast I Saw What You Did, and a book based on her popular website, Feminist Ryan Gosling, was released by Running Press in August 2012. She has been published by The New York Times, The Guardian, AFAR magazine, BuzzFeed, and The Cut, among others. She likes to watch old episodes of Doctor Who when she is on deadline, one of her tattoos is based on the movie Rocky, and she will never stop using the Oxford comma. Danielle reluctantly lives in Los Angeles.

Zakia Henderson-Brown

Zakia Henderson-Brown is an editor at The New Press and is also responsible for coordinating institutional partnerships. The authors she has worked with include Pulitzer Prize-finalist Bernice Yeung (In a Day’s Work), Maya Schenwar and Victoria Law (Prison by Any Other Name), Manuel Pastor (State of Resistance), Laura Gómez (Inventing Latinos), Sayu Bhojwani (People Like Us), Erik Nielson and Andrea L. Dennis (Rap on Trial), and MacArthur Genius grant-winner Catherine Coleman Flowers (Waste). Before joining The New Press, Zakia was an organizer and advocate at various organizations working on issues of police accountability, drug policy reform, workers’ rights, public housing equity, and gender equity. She is a Brooklyn native and loyalist.

Sarah Hennig

Sarah Hennig is a children’s librarian at Queens Public Library. She has worked in the Rockaways of New York since she started at QPL in 2015. Ms. Hennig has a love for library programming. She enjoys doing arts and craft programs, creating literacy STEM programs, and singing with her library kids during Storytimes. Currently Ms. Hennig has been a big part in assisting with virtual library programming ranging from Facebook Live programs, training librarians on Bitmoji Libraries, and working on the children’s online program committee. In her spare time, Ms. Hennig likes to ride her bicycle on the boardwalk and go hiking. She has two wonderful cats, Logan and Selby.

Ashley Henrichs

A graduate of Franklin and Marshall College with a BA in Anthropology and Classical Archaeology and Ancient History and of St. John’s University’s Department of Library and Information Science with her MLIS, Ashley is currently the Assistant Community Library Manager of the Hillcrest Branch of the Queens Public Library. Having worked in several public and academic libraries over the last 6 years, Ashley began her career doing adult reference on Long Island, eventually settling as the children’s librarian for the Hillcrest branch of QPL before being promoted to ACLM. Her commitment to children’s programming led her to being a founding member of the children’s online programming committee during the COVID-19 pandemic alongside fellow panel members Rosemary Kiladitis and Sarah Hennig.

Maria Hinojosa

Maria Hinojosa dreamt of a space where she could create independent, multimedia journalism that explores and gives a critical voice to the diverse American experience. She made that dream a reality in 2010 when she created Futuro Media, an independent, nonprofit newsroom based in Harlem, NYC with the mission to create multimedia content from a POC perspective. As Anchor and Executive Producer of the Peabody Award-winning show Latino USA, distributed by PRX, and Co-Host of Futuro Media’s award-winning political podcast In The Thick, Hinojosa has informed millions about the changing cultural and political landscape in America and abroad.

Valerie June Hockett

Valerie June Hockett is a singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist from Tennessee. She’s been hailed by the New York Times as one of America’s “most intriguing, fully formed new talents.” She has recorded two critically acclaimed, bestselling solo albums and has also written songs for legendary artists such as Mavis Staples and The Blind Boys of Alabama. When she’s not touring, June splits her time between Tennessee and New York.

Audrey Huang

Audrey is a front line bookseller at Belmont Books (Massachusetts). She’s been with the store since they opened in June, 2017. She is also a lapsed lawyer, happily not practicing the law while discovering all the books. Audrey reads across almost all genres and age groups but primarily reads BIPOC authors with all the intersections. One of her favorite things to do in the store is to rip open the arc envelopes, to see what treasure lies inside.

Derek Ivie

Derek Ivie is the Youth Services Coordinator at the Suffolk Cooperative Library System in Bellport, NY. He is also the co-chair of the Long Island Library Pride Alliance (LILPA) whose purpose is to provide LGBTQIA+ information, services, and materials to library professionals on Long Island. Outside of the library world you can find him enjoying a cold brew, reading YA novels, and co-hosting the pop culture podcast, A Bite Of.

Nicole De Jackmo

Nicole De Jackmo is SVP of Sales, Marketing, & Publicity for Philadelphia-based independent publisehr Quirk Books. With 15+ years of experience, Nicole oversees the overall brand and promotion of Quirk’s books, including international bestsellers like Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and New York Times best-selling children’s books like A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: The Poetry of Mister Rogers. Prior to joining Quirk, Nicole served as a publicist at Running Press and Simon and Schuster.

K.M. Jackson

USA Today bestselling author, native New Yorker, Kwana Jackson aka K.M. Jackson spent her formative years on the ‘A’ train where she had two dreams: 1) to be a fashion designer and 2) to be a writer. After spending over ten years designing women’s sportswear for various fashion houses Kwana took the leap of faith and decided to pursue her other dream of being a writer. A longtime advocate for equality and diversity in romance and #WeNeedDiverseRomance, Kwana is a mother of twins and currently lives in a suburb of New York with her husband. How to Marry Keanu Reeves in 90 Days releases in November.

Kosoko Jackson

Kosoko Jackson is a digital media specialist, focusing on digital storytelling, email, social and SMS marketing, and a freelance political journalist. Occasionally, his personal essays and short stories have been featured on Medium, Thought Catalog, The Advocate, and some literary magazines. His debut rom-com, I’M SO (NOT) OVER YOU, will come out in 2022, published by Berkley, an imprint of Penguin Random House. His Young Adult debut, YESTERDAY IS HISTORY, came out in 2021 by SourcebooksFire.

Timothy Janovsky

Timothy Janovsky is a queer, multidisciplinary storyteller from New Jersey. He holds a degree in theatre and dance from Muhlenberg College. His work as a humor writer has been featured on Points in Case, The Broadway Beat, and Well Mannered Grump, and his fiction short story debut was published by Voyage YA Journal. When he’s not daydreaming about a young Hugh Grant, he’s writing the queer rom-coms he wished he had as a teenager. Never Been Kissed is his first novel.

Jocelyn Nicole Johnson

Jocelyn Nicole Johnson is author of My Monticello, a debut of five stories and a novella all set in Virginia, forthcoming from Henry Holt in the fall of 2021,and selected by National Book award winner Charles Yu as his most anticipated book for the year. Johnson has been a fellow at TinHouse, Hedgebrook and VCCA. Her writing has appeared in Guernica, The Guardian, Phoebe, Prime Number Magazine, and elsewhere. Her short story “Control Negro” was anthologized in Best American Short Stories, guest edited by Roxane Gay, who called it, “one hell of a story” and read live by LeVar Burton as part of PRI’s Selected Shorts series. A veteran public school art teacher, Johnson lives and writes in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Michelle Cassandra Johnson

Michelle Cassandra Johnson is a social justice warrior, author, Dismantling Racism trainer, empath, yoga teacher and practitioner, and intuitive healer. With more than twenty years of experience leading Dismantling Racism workshops and working with clients as a licensed clinical social worker, she has a deep understanding of how trauma impacts the mind, body, spirit, and heart. Her awareness of the world through her own experience as a Black woman allows her to know, firsthand, how privilege and power operate.

Kimberly Jones

Kimberly Jones is the New York Times bestselling author of the NAACP Image Award nominated novel I’m Not Dying with You Tonight. She is the former manager of the bookstore Little Shop of Stories and currently works in the entertainment industry. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

Keynote Speaker

Tayari Jones

New York Times best-selling author Tayari Jones is the author of four novels, most recently An American Marriage, an Oprah’s Book Club Selection that appeared on Barack Obama’s summer reading list as well as his year-end roundup. The novel was awarded the Women’s Prize for Fiction (formerly known as the Orange Prize), Aspen Words Prize and an NAACP Image Award. Jones, a 2021 Guggenheim Fellow, has also been a recipient of the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, United States Artist Fellowship, NEA Fellowship, and Radcliffe Institute Bunting Fellowship. Jones is a graduate of Spelman College, University of Iowa, and Arizona State University. She is an Andrew D. White Professor-at-Large at Cornell University and the Charles Howard Candler Professor of Creative Writing at Emory University.

Ramsey Kanaan

Ramsey Kanaan clings to the rather quaint 20th century anachronism that ideas actually matter. And has been doing his best to disseminate them for well over 4 decades now. He founded AK Press out of his bedroom in Scotland in his early teens, at the dawn of the 80s, was lured to the San Francisco Bay Area in the early 90s (by the food and the weather), and since 2008 has been the co-founder and Publisher at PM Press.

Donna Paz Kaufman

After managing one of the country’s leading independent bookstore cafes and working in publishing, Donna founded The Bookstore Training Group of Paz & Associates in 1992 with the mission of helping booksellers build skills and insights so that they may lead healthy, life-driven, profitable independent bookstores. Today, Donna and her husband Mark also own Story & Song Bookstore Bistro, a 4,500 bookstore cafe and arts venue on Amelia Island, Florida and work with indie booksellers around the globe. She holds a business degree and is a certified trainer in customer service and leadership.

Mark Kaufman

Mark Kaufman applies his background in human resources, group facilitation, marketing communications, and organization transformation to his work with bookstore students and clients. He has worked with booksellers to enhance their marketing efforts and develop strategies and materials to facilitate the sale of a bookstore and owner transition. He and his partner and wife Donna Paz Kaufman also own Story & Song Bookstore Bistro, a 4,500 bookstore cafe and arts venue on Amelia Island, Florida and work with indie booksellers around the globe.

Clara-Swan Kennedy

Clara-Swan Kennedy has been an associate member of Black Rose Books since 2018.

Rosemary Kiladitis

Rosemary Kiladitis is a native New Yorker (well, almost – she arrived here at 5 days old, having been born in Hollywood, Florida) and a self-confessed bibliomaniac. She has fond memories of burning out many an Itty Bitty Book Light as a child, reading under the covers well past her bedtime, and loves being able to read by Nook light when everyone else in her house is asleep. The excitement of rediscovering her childhood favorites – and discovering new favorites! – with her own kids led her to children’s librarianship after a little over a decade in book publishing. She received her Masters in Library and Information Science from San Jose State University in 2013 and is a children’s librarian in the Queens Library system. She loves connecting the right kid with the right book and watching the magic happen, and she dreams of world domination through storytime. She lives in Queens, New York, with her husband and an assortment of kids and pets.

Jisu Kim

Jisu Kim oversees marketing, sales, and publicity at the Feminist Press.

Juhea Kim

Juhea Kim was born in Incheon, Korea, and moved to Portland, Oregon, at age nine. Her writing has been published in Granta, Catapult, Joyland, Times Literary Supplement, The Independent, Zyzzyva, and elsewhere. She is the founder and editor of Peaceful Dumpling, an online magazine at the intersection of sustainable lifestyle and ecological literature. She earned her BA in Art and Archaeology from Princeton University. After a decade in New York City, Kim now lives with her two rescue cats in Portland, Oregon.

Linette Kim

Linette Kim is the library marketing manager for Harlequin Trade Publishing and its associated imprints including Hanover Square Press, Graydon House, Park Row, MIRA, HQN, and Inkyard Press.

Kevin King

Kevin King has worked at the Kalamazoo Public Library (KPL) since 1998. Currently he serves as the Head of Community Engagement, which includes working with the library branches, mobile library vehicle, outreach, programming, security and social services. Kevin has presented at conferences in workshops in over 20 states on topics like leadership, organizational healthy, innovation, and trauma-informed care. In 2020, he became the inaugural winner of the Michigan Library Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award. In March of this year, Kevin launched KPL’s first podcast, Five Author Questions with his co-host Sandra Farag.

Rene Kirkpatrick

Rene is a bookseller at University Bookstore in Seattle and was the children’s book buyer at the revered All for Kids Books and Music in Seattle and got her start at University of Oregon Bookstore in Eugene, OR. She lives and works in Seattle and thoroughly enjoys being a part of the reading community of the Puget Sound.

Keynote Speaker

TJ Klune

TJ Klune is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling, Lambda Literary Award-winning author of The Extraordinaries, The House in the Cerulean Sea, and more. Being queer himself, TJ believes it’s important—now more than ever—to have accurate, positive, queer representation in stories. The Extraordinaries was TJ Klune’s YA debut.

Carrie Koepke

Carrie happened into a bookselling job as a teen and knew she found her people. A few life adventures later, she is happy to be back . . . for good. She can often be found walking while reading, how else would she find enough time? She tends to have several books going at once, including working on her own (very slowly).

M.J. Kuhn

M.J. Kuhn is a fantasy writer by night and a mild-mannered university employee by day. She lives in the metro Detroit area with her husband Ryan, a dog named Wrex, and the very spoiled cat Thorin Oakenshield.

Thien-Kim Lam

Thien-Kim writes stories about Vietnamese characters who smash stereotypes and find their happy endings. A recovering Type-Asian, she guzzles cà phê sữa đá, makes art, and bakes her feelings to stay sane. Thien-Kim is also the founder of Bawdy Bookworms, a subscription box that pairs sexy romances with erotic toys. She’s been featured on NPR, BBC America, and NBC.

Gianna LaMorte

Gianna LaMorte is an Assistant Director and the Sales & Marketing Manager at the University of Texas Press. Prior to working at UTP she was a Field Sales Manager with Random House.

LaQuette

LaQuette writes savvy, sexy contemporary romance. She is the 2016 Author of the Year Golden Apple Award Winner, 2016 Write Touch Reader’s Choice Winner, and a 2018 Passionate Plume Finalist. She is an advocate for diverse romance in the publishing industry. LaQuette, a native of Brooklyn, lives in the mountains with her book-boyfriend husband and their two rambunctious kids.

Chris Lee

Chris Lee is from West Virginia. MFA from the University of Pittsburgh. He works as a bookseller in Milwaukee.

Lori M. Lee

Lori M. Lee has been writing stories since the third grade and earned a bachelor’s degree in creative writing. She specializes in science fiction and fantasy and has two YA series to her name: Gates of Thread and Stone and Shamanborn. She’s also a contributor to several anthologies, including A Thousand Beginnings and Endings, and Color Outside the Lines. Lori was born in a village in the mountains of Laos, which her family was forced to escape when she was just an infant. They relocated to a refugee camp in Thailand refugee for a few years and moved permanently to the United States when she was three. Now she lives in Wisconsin with her husband, kids, and excitable shih-tzu.

Cicely Lewis

Named the 2020 National Librarian of the Year by School Library Journal and Scholastic, a 2019 Library Journal Mover and Shaker and the 2019 National Teacher Award for Lifelong Readers by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and Penguin Random House (PRH) , Cicely Lewis is a school librarian with a passion for creating lovers of reading. In 2017, she started the Read Woke challenge in response to the shootings of young unarmed black people, the repeal of DACA, and the lack of diversity in young adult literature. Her students were required to read books that challenge the social norm and give voice to the voiceless. Using this platform, she had inspired the nation to Read Woke with educators across the world joining in and sharing the movement with their students. A native of Mississippi, she currently resides in Georgia with her Anime loving husband, Michael and two rambunctious children, Tristan and Trinity. When she is not reading, you can find Cicely writing for her bi-monthly column in the School Library Journal where she shares her book recommendations. Her writing was recently featured in the 20th Anniversary Edition of Walter Dean Myers 145th Street Short Stories.

Sara Look

Sara Luce Look (she/her) is co-owner and book buyer at Charis Books & More, Georgia’s only independent feminist bookstore, where she has been a bookseller since 1994.

Brein Lopez

Brein is the general manager at Children’s Book World, and a veteran of the LA bookstore community. Over the last three decades, he’s also worked at Book Soup and Every Picture Tells a Story.

Corinna Luyken

Corinna Luyken makes art in the Pacific Northwest, where she is inspired by small things (like hearts, tree, and mistakes); and by big things (like love, nature, and the web of relationship that connects us all). She is the author/illustrator of two previous picture books, My Heart (a New York Times Best Seller) and The Book of Mistakes, and the illustrator of Adrian Simcox Does Not Have a Horse and Nothing in Common.

Christy Lynch

Christy Lynch is the nonfiction and lifestyles editor at BookPage. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is an MFA candidate at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee.

Doma Mahmoud

Doma Mahmoud has an MFA in Creative Writing from New York University. He currently teaches at the American University of Cairo and is based in Cairo, Egypt. Cairo Circles is his first book.

Nesrine Malik

Nesrine Malik is an award-winning British-Sudanese columnist and features writer for the Guardian. We Need New Stories is her first book. She lives in London.

Kathryn Marguy

Kathryn Marguy is the publicity manager at Johns Hopkins University Press. She has spent the better part of the last decade working with subject-area expert authors around the globe in partnership with university presses.

Ana Maria

Ana Maria joined Workman Publishing in 2020 to launch Workman Audio, where she oversees production, distribution, marketing, and sales of audiobooks published simultaneously with the print editions from across the Workman imprints. Ana Maria is an audiobook industry veteran; in her last role before joining Workman she was vice president and publisher of HarperAudio at HarperCollins Publishers.

Freya Marske

Freya Marske is one of the co-hosts of Be the Serpent, a Hugo Award-nominated podcast about SFF, fandom, and literary tropes, and her work has sold to Analog and been shortlisted for Best Fantasy Short Story in the Aurealis Awards. She lives in Australia.

Kat Martin

Currently living in Missoula, Montana, New York Times bestselling author, Kat Martin, was raised in Bakersfield, California, then attended the University of California at Santa Barbara, where she majored in anthropology and also studied history. After graduation, Kat pursued a career in real estate, where she met her husband, Western author L. J. Martin, who convinced her to try writing a novel. Today, as a New York Times bestselling author of historical and contemporary romantic suspense novels, 17 million copies of Kat’s books are in print and she’s been published in Germany, Norway, Sweden, China, Korea, Bulgaria, Russia, England, France, South Africa, Italy, Spain, Argentina, and Greece. When she’s not writing, Kat enjoys traveling, particularly in Europe, fine food and wine, and an occasional adventure. Currently, she’s busy writing her next novel. 

Neyda Martinez

Neyda is an associate professor of professional practice. media management, in The School of Media Studies and co-director of the Impact Entrepreneurship Initiative at The New School. Proud of her Puerto Rican heritage and upbringing on the west side of Chicago, her community inspires and grounds her work as an independent producer, educator, cultural worker, and organizer. Neyda is a producer of the Independent Lens’ Audience Award-winning documentary on PBS “Decade of Fire” (2019/2020), and LUCKY, winner of Best Documentary Feature, Urban World Film Festival (2014). As founder and producer of Habana/Harlem®, a bridge-building arts and humanities initiative, she has introduced the work of artists to new audiences and co-produced Michele Rosewoman’s 30th and 35th anniversary acclaimed Jazz and Afro Cuban “New Yor-Uba” albums. Along with A.J. Muhammad she co-developed and implemented the pilot phase of the New Audience Project, an initiative to develop and train Latina cultural ambassadors in support of Latino arts institutions through arts immersion, workforce development and micro-entrepreneurism with an award from Rockefeller Foundation. A contributing editor to the Latinx Project at New York University, she is a graduate of Loyola University (Chicago, IL) and earned an MPA from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University (New York, NY). With over 20 years of experience in the public, private and cultural sectors, she remains active in the field as an active mentor and by supporting the mission of organizations such as the Creative Justice Initiative and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She also serves on the board of directors of Pepatian, Women Make Movies and Uprose.

Josh Marwell

Josh Marwell is the President, Sales at HarperCollins Publishers where has worked since 1998. Before that he worked in sales at Little, Brown and St. Martin’s Press. After a stint as a bookstore clerk he began his career in publishing as a field sales representative in upstate New York. He is a graduate of the NYU Summer Publishing Program.

Dr. Rupa Marya

Dr. Rupa Marya is a physician, activist, mother and composer. She is an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco where she practices and teaches Internal Medicine. Her research examines the health impacts of social systems, from agriculture to policing. She is a co-founder of the Do No Harm Coalition, a collective of health workers committed to addressing disease through structural change. At the invitation of Lakota health leaders, she is currently helping to set up the Mni Wiconi Health Clinic and Farm at Standing Rock in order to decolonize medicine and food. She has toured 29 countries with her band Rupa and the April Fishes, whose music was described by legend Gil Scott Heron as “Liberation Music.”

Jennifer Mathieu

Jennifer Mathieu is the author of Devoted, Afterward, The Liars of Mariposa Island, and The Truth About Alice, which won the Teen Choice Debut Author Award. Her 2017 novel, Moxie, was developed into a film by Amy Poehler for Netflix. Jennifer teaches high school English in Texas, where she lives in the Houston area with her husband and son.

Annie Mazes

Annie Mazes handles adult library marketing for all imprints at Workman Publishing Company. She is also the chair of the ALMA (adult library marketing association) committee. Some favorite titles include The Orphan Master’s Son and Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast. After 10 years, she still can’t believe she gets to book talk with librarians everyday.

Amber McBride

Amber McBride is an English professor at the University of Virginia and holds an MFA in poetry from Emerson College. Her poetry has been published in several literary magazines including Ploughshares and The Rumpus. She lives in Charlottesville, Virginia with her dog, Shiloh.

John McDonald

John McDonald works at Haymarket books, a radical independent nonprofit book publisher. He writes for Jacobin and is a corresponding editor at Salvage.

Deanna McFadden

Deanna McFadden is Publishing Director at Wattpad. She started her career in publishing 15 years ago as a Digital Marketer with Random House of Canada. She spent a decade working in various departments at HarperCollins Canada, and rose to Senior Director, Digital Product. In her role as Associate Publisher with Joe Books, she managed a robust licensed publishing program in partnership with Disney, Marvel, Lucasfilm, and NBCUniversal.

Erica Melnichok

Erica Melnichok is a Senior Library Marketing Manager at Penguin Random House. Originally from Maine, she’s a big fan of outdoor fun, especially near the coast. Her literary heroines include the Claire Randall, Elizabeth Bennett, Diana Bishop, June Osborne, and Eleanor Oliphant. Publisher by trade, librarian by degree, bookworm at heart.

Jean Meltzer

Jean Meltzer studied dramatic writing at NYU Tisch and has earned numerous awards for her work in television, including a daytime Emmy. Like her protagonist, Jean is also a chronically-ill and disabled Jewish woman. She is an outspoken advocate for ME/CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), has attended visibility actions in Washington DC, meeting with members of Senate and Congress to raise funds for ME/CFS. She inspires 9,000 followers on WW Connect to live their best life, come out of the chronic illness closet, and embrace the hashtag #chronicallyfabulous. Also, while she was raised in what would be considered a secular home, she grew up kosher and attended Hebrew School. She spent five years in rabbinical school before her chronic illness forced her to withdraw, and her father told her she should write a book―just not a Jewish one because no one reads those. The Matzah Ball is her first novel.

Paul Mendez

Paul Mendez was born and raised in the Black Country. He now lives in London and is studying for an M.A. in Black British Writing at Goldsmiths, University of London. He has been a performing member of two theatre companies, and worked as a voice actor, appearing on audiobooks by Andrea Levy, Paul Theroux and Ben Okri, most recently recording Ian Wright’s A Life in Football for Hachette Audio. As a writer, he has contributed to the Times Literary Supplement and the Brixton Review of Books. Rainbow Milk is his debut novel.

Erika Meza

Erika Meza was born in Mexico, fell in love with animation on the border with California, and developed a taste for éclairs in Paris before moving to the U.K. An adoptive Tijuanense, she took her first steps to find her visual voice at the border–forever fueled by tacos de birria. When Erika isn’t drawing, you’ll find her drinking coffee, tweeting, or plotting ways to bring her cat traveling with her.

Sarah Miller

Sarah Miller has been the Program Coordinator at NCTE since 2020. She coordinates many awards, partnerships, and philanthropic opportunities for the organization, and is the liaison and coordinator for book-related committees and initiatives, including Build Your Stack®, the Charlotte Huck Award® for fiction, the Orbis Pictus Award® for non-fiction, and the Excellence in Poetry for Children Award. A book lover and dedicated reader, she loves children’s literature, classic literature, fiction, biography and memoir, academic works (especially on book history, culture, art, religion, and philosophy), and the occasional romance. She previously worked as a coordinator for the Honors Program and for the Speech-Language Pathology Graduate Program at Saint Xavier University in Chicago, Illinois.

Lydia Millet

Lydia Millet has won awards from PEN Center USA and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and her books have been finalists for the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. She lives outside Tucson, Arizona.

Denene Millner

Denene Millner is the No. 1 New York Times bestselling author of 31 books, including The Fresh Princess, co-written with Will Smith, and The Vow, the novel on which the Lifetime movie, “With This Ring,” was based. Denene also is editor of Denene Millner Books, a Simon & Schuster imprint that won Newbery and Caldecott honors and the Kirkus Prize for Children’s Literature in its debut year. Denene also is co-host of Georgia Public Broadcasting’s “A Seat at the Table,” an Emmy-nominated talk show about black women, and host of “Speakeasy,” a podcast that examines blackness.

Elizabeth Minkel

Elizabeth Minkel is a writer, editor, and consultant who focuses on books, digital technologies, and fan culture. She’s written for the New Statesman, The Millions, The Guardian, The New Yorker, The Verge, and more. She co-hosts a podcast about fandom called “Fansplaining,” and she co-curates “The Rec Center,” a weekly fan culture newsletter that was a finalist for a Hugo Award in 2020.

Kate Moore

Kate Moore is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Radium Girls, which won the 2017 Goodreads Choice Award for Best History, was voted U.S. librarians’ favorite nonfiction book of 2017, and was named a Notable Nonfiction Book of 2018 by the American Library Association. A British writer based in London, Kate writes across a variety of genres and has had multiple titles on the Sunday Times bestseller list. Her new book is The Woman They Could Not Silence, publishing June 22, 2021.

Alene Moroni

Alene Moroni is a Sagittarius who’s been professionally pushing books for more than a quarter century. She spent the first couple of decades at two giant library systems (one on each coast) and in 2015 settled into a small standalone library in western Massachusetts. She takes milk and sugar in her tea, likes peanut butter on most things, and does laundry to relax.

Bethany C. Morrow

Bethany C. Morrow is a recovering expat recently returning from six years in Montreal, Quebec, to live and write in north country, New York. A California native, Bethany graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a BA in Sociology. Following undergrad, she studied Clinical Psychological Research at the University of Wales, Bangor, in Great Britain before returning to North America to focus on her literary work. She is the author of the adult novel Mem, So Many Beginnings: A Little Women Remix and the national bestseller A Song Below Water, and the editor of the young adult anthology Take the Mic.

Sarah Munroe

Sarah Munroe is Acquisitions Editor and Marketing Manager at West Virginia University Press. She holds an MFA in creative writing and lives in Morgantown with her husband, two dogs, and a growing brood of hens.

John Mutter

John Mutter is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Shelf Awareness, which publishes Shelf Awareness Pro, a daily e-mail newsletter for the book trade that emphasizes information that booksellers and librarians need to sell and lend books, and Shelf Awareness for Readers, a twice-weekly e-mail newsletter that reviews the best 25 books appearing each week and includes author interviews, book articles and literary trivia. Earlier he worked at Publishers Weekly for more than 20 years, mostly covering bookselling.

Lalitha Nataraj

Lalitha Nataraj (she/her) is the Social Sciences Librarian at California State University, San Marcos. Lalitha also spent several years as a public librarian advocating for the inclusion of diverse materials in children’s and teen library collections. She has served on the Newbery Award Committee and the Printz Award Committee and reviews for School Library Journal. Lalitha holds an MLIS from UCLA and a BA in English Literature and Women’s Studies from UC Berkeley.

Alexis Nedd

Alexis Nedd is a Brooklyn-based pop culture “fanthropologist” who has only ever loved things in a big, obsessive way. As the Senior Entertainment Reporter at Mashable.com, she covers television, movies, and video games with a focus on sci-fi and fantasy universes like Game of Thrones and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. When she’s not writing for money, she’s writing for no money on Twitter, where her feed consists of deep dives on weird history (Hamilton and messed-up royal lineages are favorites) and analyzing pop culture as an artifact of society. Her writing has also appeared in Elle, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, and BuzzFeed.

Kamrun Nesa

Kamrun Nesa is a senior book publicist at Grand Central Publishing and freelance writer based in New York. Her work has been featured in NPR, Glamour, The Washington Post, PopSugar, and more. She also co-hosts a romance book podcast called LITerally Us.

Melissa Nicholas

Melissa Nicholas is the Director of Account Marketing at Hachette Book Group. After graduation from Fordham University, Melissa worked as a Bookseller and General Manager before moving to Hachette in 2011. At Hachette, Melissa focuses on Adult Library Marketing efforts. Melissa looks forward to library conferences and buzz panels(virtual too) because for her books are where it is at. All she wants to do is read! However, Melissa can get behind a good House Hunters episode, that’s her preferred suspense level.

Claire North

Claire North is a pseudonym for Catherine Webb, a Carnegie Medal-nominated author. Her first book published under the Claire North name was The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, whcih became a word-of-mouth bestseller and was shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke Award. Her novel The Sudden Appearance of Hope won the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel, and her recent book 84K was awarded the special citation by the Philip K. Dick Award. Her latest novel is Notes From the Burning Age.

Jenn Northington

Jenn Northington is a former bookseller and current reviewer, podcaster, and editor. She’s been published various places including Selfish Magazine and Book Riot, where she also works wrangling editorial operations. She is the co-editor, alongside Swapna Krishna, of SWORD STONE TABLE: Old Legends, New Voices, publishing July 2021.

Emily Ohanjanians

Emily Ohanjanians has been an editor with MIRA for over a decade, and has worked with authors ranging from debuts to veteran New York Times and USA TODAY bestsellers. There is nothing more fulfilling for Emily than seeing readers connect with a story she’s had the pleasure of working on with an author. She is always looking for breakout mainstream commercial fiction, and is a fan of unique voices, fresh perspectives, high concepts, strong pacing and complex characters.

Suyi Davies Okungbowa

Suyi Davies Okungbowa is the author of Son of the Storm (Orbit, May 2021), first in The Nameless Republic epic fantasy trilogy, and the godpunk novel, David Mogo, Godhunter (Abaddon, 2019). His shorter works have appeared internationally in periodicals like Tor.com, Lightspeed, Nightmare, Strange Horizons, Fireside, and anthologies like Black Panther: Tales of Wakanda and Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy. He earned his MFA at the University of Arizona.

Brian O’Leary

Brian O’Leary is executive director of the Book Industry Study Group, a U.S.-based trade association that works to create a more informed, effective, and efficient book industry supply chain. He oversees the work BISG does to disseminate information, create and implement standards and best practices, conduct research, and grow membership from companies working throughout the supply chain.

Chibundu Onuzo

Chibundu Onuzo was born in Lagos, Nigeria and lives in London. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and regular contributor to the Guardian, she is the winner of a Betty Trask Award, has been shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize, the Commonwealth Book Prize, and the RSL Encore Award, and has been longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize and Etisalat Literature Prize. The author of Welcome to Lagos, Sankofa is her third novel.

Mark Oshiro

Mark Oshiro (They/Them) is the Hugo Award nominated writer of the online Mark Does Stuff universe (Mark Reads and Mark Watches), where they acutely scrutinize and emphatically react to a flavorful array of books and TV series. Best known for their exquisitely rendered post-apocalypic YA fantasy novel Each of Us a Desert, “an organically Spanish-studded examination of trauma,” they are a notable voice in the queer and latinx spaces.

Ruth Ozeki

Ruth Ozeki is a novelist, filmmaker, and Zen Buddhist priest. She is the award-winning author of three novels, My Year of Meats, All Over Creation, and A Tale for the Time Being, which was a finalist for the 2013 Booker Prize. Her nonfiction work includes a memoir, The Face: A Time Code, and the documentary film, Halving the Bones. She is affiliated with the Everyday Zen Foun­dation and teaches creative writing at Smith College, where she is the Grace Jarcho Ross 1933 Professor of Humanities.

Ariana Paliobagis

Ariana Paliobagis is the owner of Country Bookshelf, an independent bookstore serving Bozeman, Montana since 1957. She recently served on the ABA’s Indies Introduce Panel for Adults, has served on the PNBA Awards Committee, and currently serves on the PNBA Board as President. Country Bookshelf partners with two other PNBA bookstores to produce Books In Common NW, a virtual event series. She reads widely and shares her home with two troublesome tuxedo cats.

Anthony Parisi

Anthony Parisi is a Senior Associate Director of Marketing at Tor Books, coordinating library initiatives for both their adult and children’s titles. As an avid reader, Anthony is thrilled to share book recommendations with educators and librarians.

Shelley Parker-Chan

Shelley Parker-Chan is an Australian by way of Malaysia and New Zealand. A 2017 Tiptree Fellow, she is the author of the historical fantasy novel She Who Became the Sun. Parker-Chan spent nearly a decade working as a diplomat and international development adviser in Southeast Asia, where she became addicted to epic East Asian historical TV dramas. After a failed search to find English-language book versions of these stories, she decided to write her own. Parker-Chan currently lives in Melbourne, Australia, where she is very grateful to never have to travel by leaky boat ever again.

Raj Patel

Raj Patel is a Research Professor at the University of Texas at Austin’s Lyndon B Johnson School of Public Affairs, a professor in the University’s department of nutrition, and a Research Associate at Rhodes University, South Africa. He is the author of Stuffed and Starved, the New York Times bestselling The Value of Nothing, and co-author of A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things. A James Beard Leadership Award winner, he is completing a film on the global food system, and is a leading thinker and organizer around the Green New Deal. He serves on the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems, and has advised governments on causes and solutions to crises of sustainability worldwide.

Sajni Patel

Sajni Patel was born in vibrant India and raised in the heart of Texas, surrounded by a lot of delicious food and plenty of diversity. She draws on her personal experiences, cultural expectations, and Southern flair to create worlds that center on strong Indian women. Her debut, The Trouble with Hating You, was named to “Best of 2020” lists by CosmopolitanPopSugar, and Insider. She’s a die-hard Marvel Comics fan, a lover of chocolates from around the world, and is always wrapped up in a story. First Love, Take Two releases in September. For more on Sajni and her books, visit SajniPatel.com.

Kimberly Patton

Kimberly A. Patton selects Children and Teen materials for the Kansas City, KS Public Library as their Collection Development Librarian. She graduated from Baker University with a B.A. in Business Administration and a Master of Science in Management as well as a Master of Library and Information Science from Emporia State University. She’s spent her many years as a library professional sharing her lifetime love of children of teen books with as many young as people as she can. She has never met a kid that she couldn’t match up with a book they would love. Ms. Patton is a long-time ALA member and former president of YALSA, she is currently the Division Councilor for ALSC. 

Mark Pearson

Mark is the CEO and cofounder of Libro.fm. He enjoys running in the rain, playing tennis when the sun makes an appearance, over and undercooking food, and reading The New York Times on paper. Prior to starting Libro.fm, Mark was the publisher at Pear Press, distributed by Two Rivers Distribution/Ingram.

Christine Peele

Christine Peele has been employed by the Detroit Public Library for almost 25 years. She has worked at a variety of branches across the city as well as Main Library. Christine is the Co-Chair of the African America Booklist and Co-Chair of DPL Author Series Committee. She is also President of UAW Local 2200. Christine has been married for 16 years and spends much of the year with her husband on the back of their Harley Davidson motorcycle. Right now, she is reading “Wild Rain” by Beverly Jenkins and “Glimmer of Death” by Valerie Wilson Wesley.

Keynote Speaker

Leslye Penelope

L. Penelope has been writing since she could hold a pen and loves getting lost in the worlds in her head. She is an award-winning author of new adult, fantasy, and paranormal romance. She lives in Maryland with her husband and their furry dependents: an eighty-pound lap dog and an aspiring feral cat. Her Earthsinger Chronicles began with Song of Blood and Stone.

Nichole Perkins

Nichole Perkins is a writer from Nashville, Tennessee. She examines the intersections of pop culture, race, sex, gender, and relationships. Nichole is a 2017 Audre Lorde Fellow at the inaugural Jack Jones Literary Arts Retreat and a 2017 BuzzFeed Emerging Writers Fellow. She is also a 2016 Callaloo Creative Writing Fellow for poetry. She hosts “This Is Good For You,” a podcast that highlights the pleasures of life, formerly co-hosted “Thirst Aid Kit,” a podcast about pop culture and desire, with Bim Adewunmi, a producer at “This American Life,” and was also a co-host of “The Waves” podcast at Slate, which looked at news and culture through a feminist lens. Her first collection of poetry, Lilith, but Dark, was published by Publishing Genius in July 2018.

Vijay Prashad

Vijay Prashad is the Chief Editor of LeftWord Books, Chief Correspondent at Globetrotter, and Director of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research. He is on the coordination committee of the International Union of Left Publishers.

Jessica Pryde

Jessica Pryde is a reader, writer, and librarian living in Southern Arizona. As a contributing editor for Book Riot, she writes regular content about romance and the greater book world, and is the co-host of Book Riot’s romance podcast, When In Romance. You can also occasionally find her writing on Harlequin Ever After and the Read Bliss blog.  Her first book, Black Love Matters: Real Talk on Romance, Being Seen, and Happy Ever Afters, is set to release with Berkley in February 2022. 

Amanda Qassar

Amanda Qassar has been a bookseller for two decades, working with new, used, medical, technical, academic, occult, children’s and general books. Amanda is now marketing coordinator at Warwick’s (@warwicksbooks) in La Jolla, California (celebrating its 125th anniversary this year). Favorite genres include fantasy, speculative fiction, theory and criticism, science, nature, music and food writing, and books about books.

Golda Rademacher

Golda Rademacher is the Library Sales & Marketing Director at W. W. Norton & Company.

Seija Rankin

Seija Rankin is the Books Editor at Entertainment Weekly, where she oversees coverage of everything from literary fiction to celebrity memoirs while constantly searching for extra hours in the day to read more.

Kate Rattenborg

Kate is the owner of two bookstores in Decorah, Iowa. Dragonfly Books is Kate’s flagship store, and recently celebrated ten years of being open! The Silver Birch is a Christian bookstores, and has been under Kate’s management for the past three years. A frequent user of Edelweiss analytics, Kate relies on the data to help her fine tune the stores’ inventory. Each store has approximately 1,000 sq ft of selling space.

Abby Rauscher

Abby Rauscher is the children’s buyer and manager at Books Are Magic in Brooklyn, NY. They own a pair of thigh high leather boots, three machetes, and two Keyblades. They’re not claiming they’re a wizard, but the evidence speaks for itself.

Catherine Raven

Catherine Raven is a former national park ranger at Glacier, Mount Rainier, North Cascades, Voyageurs, and Yellowstone national parks. She earned a PhD in biology from Montana State University, holds degrees in zoology and botany from the University of Montana, and is a member of American Mensa and Sigma Xi. Her natural history essays have appeared in American Scientist, Journal of American Mensa, and Montana Magazine. You can find her in Fox’s valley tugging tumbleweeds from the sloughs.

Ava Reid

Ava Reid was born in Manhattan and raised right across the Hudson River in Hoboken, New Jersey, but currently lives in Palo Alto. She has a degree in political science from Barnard College, focusing on religion and ethnonationalism. She has worked for a refugee resettlement organization, for a U.S. senator, and, most recently, for an AI robotics startup. The Wolf and the Woodsman is her first novel.

Belle Reynoso

Belle has a Master’s in Library and Information Science degree and over 20 years of experience in the library and information science management arena. She has worked in roles from Library Assistant in a law firm to several years in the public sector as a Branch Manager and an Assistant Director of Access Service. In her current role as the Director of Collection Management for the Live Oak Public Libraries, she has the charge of acquiring and building the collection for 16 locations.

Jewell Parker Rhodes

Jewell Parker Rhodes is the author of Ninth Ward, winner of a Coretta Scott King Honor; Sugar, winner of the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award; and the New York Times-bestselling Ghost Boys; as well as Bayou Magic; Towers Falling; Black Brother, Black Brother; and Paradise on Fire. She has written many award-novels for adults, including, MAGIC CITY, a novel about the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. Jewell is the Virginia G. Piper Endowed Chair of Creative Writing at Arizona State University. The driving force behind all of Jewell’s work is to inspire social justice, equality, and environmental stewardship.

Sara Richmond

At Edelweiss, Sara heads up communication and education efforts – both internally and externally. When not working, you can find her relaxing with a good book, spending time with her two boys and dog, or working on some home improvement project.

Darrell Rigby

Darrell Rigby leads Bain & Company’s Global Innovation and Agile practices, is a frequent speaker and writer on innovation, agile, and retail, has appeared on CNBC, CNN’s Moneyline, and Bloomberg, and has had his research published in Harvard Business Review, the Wall Street Journal, and the Financial Times. His most recent book, with Steve Berez and Sarah Elk, is DOING AGILE RIGHT: Transformation Without Chaos.

Vanessa Riley

Vanessa Riley is an award-winning author of Regency and Historical Romances featuring dazzling multi-culture communities and powerful persons of color. To fuel her interest in the Regency and early-Victorian eras, she made time for attending renaissance fairs and consuming period novels and films while obtaining her Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Stanford University. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and the Historical Novel Society, as well as a Christian Book Lovers board member. A frequent speaker at women’s events, she lives in Georgia with her military husband and teenage kid.

Josh Ritter

Josh Ritter is a songwriter from Moscow, Idaho. His albums include The Animal Years and So Runs the World Away. Bright’s Passage is his first novel. He lives in New York.

Farrah Rochon

USA Today bestselling author Farrah Rochon hails from a small town just west of New Orleans. When she is not writing in her favorite coffee shop, Farrah spends most of her time reading, cooking, traveling the world, visiting Walt Disney World, and catching her favorite Broadway shows. The Boyfriend Project, praised by NPR, and Entertainment Weekly, is available now. The Dating Playbook will be available in August. For more on Farrah and her books, visit FarrahRochon.com.

Cristina Rodriguez

Cristina Rodriguez is the Director of Sales and Marketing at A Public Space, arts, and culture magazine, and imprint, A Public Space Books. A former bookseller, she is also a Publishers Weekly 2020 Star Watch Honoree, a Bookselling Without Borders fellow, and a 2020 CLMP Firecracker Award judge.

Elias Rodriques

Elias Rodriques’s work has been published in the Nation, Bookforum, n+1, and elsewhere. He lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and is an assistant professor of African American literature at Sarah Lawrence College.

Morgan Rogers

Morgan Rogers is a queer black millennial. She writes books for queer girls that are looking for their place in the world. She lives in Maryland with her five dogs. HONEY GIRL is her debut novel.

Steven Rogers

Steven Rogers retired from Harvard Business School in 2019 where he was the “MBA Class of 1957 Senior Lecturer” in General Management. He taught Entrepreneurial Finance and his own course, “Black Business Leaders and Entrepreneurship.” Prior to HBS, Professor Rogers taught in the MBA and PhD programs at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, where he received the Outstanding Professor Award for the Executive MBA Program 26 times and daytime program twice. More recently, Rogers joined the Steans Family Foundation as an advisor to develop an economic plan for a poverty-stricken Black community in Chicago. In 2020, he toured 10 HBCUs where he taught a workshop titled Entrepreneurial Finance for Black Entrepreneurs. He has also served on the Board of Directors of several corporations. Named one of the top 150 influential people in America by Ebony Magazine, Rogers is the author of The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Finance and Business and multiple Harvard Business School case studies and podcasts focused on Black business and financial issues.

Karis Rogerson

Karis Rogerson is an American, Canadian, and pseudo-Italian writer and blogger based in Brooklyn. She loves to read and champion young adult literature. She has written for various websites including LitReactor.com, Bustle, and We Need Diverse Books, where she regularly contributes author profiles.

Lucinda Roy

Lucinda Roy is an award-winning novelist, poet, and memoirist, and a lifelong advocate for diversity and inclusion. She’s lived and taught on three continents and is recognized for her keynotes on race and gender, creative writing, and education reform. Her commentaries and poetry have been published in numerous newspapers and journals, including USA Today, the Guardian, and the New York Times. She lives with her husband in Blacksburg, Virginia, where, as a distinguished professor, she teaches creative writing at Virginia Tech. For The Freedom Race, she relocated to speculative fiction because it allows her to imagine what form hope would take inside a damaged future world.

Britt Rubiano

Since joining Disney Publishing in 2012, senior editor Britt Rubiano has reimagined the Disney legacy for a contemporary readership with such books as the Twisted Tale series, as well as acquired compelling new IP for the Walt Disney Company, including The Mirror quartet. Britt has had the privilege of with working powerhouse authors like Julie C. Dao, Dhonielle Clayton, Liz Braswell, Aisha Saeed, Matt de la Peña, Elizabeth Lim, Jen Calonita, Grace Lin, and Holly Black, as well as legendary storytellers like Stan Lee, Floyd Norman, and Richard Sherman. She lives in Southern California with her husband, toddler, and highly opinionated cat.

John Rubin

John, the son of an independent bookseller and grandson of a librarian, founded Above the Treeline, the company behind Edelweiss, in 2002. John lives in Ann Arbor Michigan with his wife Annie and 3 dogs and always dreams of being in the mountains.

Anne Rumberger

Anne Rumberger is US Marketing Director at Verso Books and an activist with Democratic Socialists of America and NYC for Abortion Rights.

Marie Russell

A Cataloger and JD with a a passion for Document preservation and a great love for the two black voids she calls her cats.

Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Benjamin Alire Sáenz is an author of poetry and prose for adults and teens. He is the winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award and the American Book Award for his books for adults. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe was a Printz Honor Book, the Stonewall Award winner, the Pura Belpre Award winner, the Lambda Literary Award winner, and a finalist for the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award. His first novel for teens, Sammy and Juliana in Hollywood, was an ALA Top Ten Book for Young Adults and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. His second book for teens, He Forgot to Say Goodbye, won the Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award, the Southwest Book Award, and was named a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age. He teaches creative writing at the University of Texas, El Paso.

Victoria Schwab

Victoria Schwab is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than a dozen novels for readers of all ages, including City of Ghosts and Tunnel of Bones, Everyday Angel: Three Novels, the Shades of Magic series (which has been translated into over 15 languages), This Savage Song, and Our Dark Duet. Victoria can often be found haunting Paris streets and trudging up Scottish hillsides. Usually, she’s tucked in the corner of a coffee shop, dreaming up stories.

Bianca Schwarz

Bianca M. Schwarz was born in Germany, spent her formative years in London, and now lives in Los Angeles with her husband and teenage son. She has been telling stories all her life and holds a degree in English literature. Her first novel is The Innkeeper’s Daughter. The Gentleman’s Daughter is the second and most sweepingly romantic book in The Gentleman Spy Mysteries.

Gilly Segal

Gilly Segal is the New York Times bestselling author of the NAACP Image Award nominated novel I’m Not Dying with You Tonight. She grew up in Florida, attended Hebrew University and Emory School of Law. She is currently the chief legal officer of an advertising agency.

Veruschka Selbach

Veruschka Selbach is the Managing Director of Pluto Books and the Left Book Club. She started working in publishing back when emails were sent daily on a dial-up connection and scissors were still used to lay out a catalogue. She has a fair bit of international experience across all areas of book publishing and most things digital. In 2012, she founded Dō Sustainability, which was nominated for the IPG Newcomer of the Year Award in 2014 and is now part of Routledge. As MD of Pluto Books she’s trying to balance anti-capitalist radical concepts in a broken capitalist world without being a hypocrite. A die-hard urbanite before the pandemic, she now lives in the Kent countryside. She is a fellow at the RSA.

Sharon Shell

Sharon joined IPG in December 2019. She has worked in the book industry for more than 18 years, spending most of that time at Scholastic in library and education sales. She was also a regional account manager for the digital division of Capstone from 2014-2018, selling their digital literacy product, myON, to educational accounts. Sharon will manage IPG’s overall sales to academic, library, and educational accounts while having direct responsibility for accounts such as Follett, Perma-Bound, Booksource, Classroom Library Company, Perfection Learning, Brodart, Mackin Educational, and Midwest Library Services.

Talia Sherer

Senior Director of Library Marketing Talia Sherer coordinates the library marketing activities of Macmillan’s adult publishers, which include St. Martin’s Press, Henry Holt, Tor/Forge, Minotaur, Picador, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Celadon, Wednesday and Flatiron Books. Talia was chair of the Association of American Publishers (AAP) Trade Libraries committee for four years and was proud to be named a 2010 Library Journal Mover & Shaker!

Lauren Shippen

Lauren Shippen, author of The Infinite Noise, is a writer best known for her work in fiction podcasts. She is the creator and sole writer of the popular audio drama, The Bright Sessions. She also wrote MARVELS, an audio adaptation of the popular comic, and co-produced the #1 podcast, Passenger List, for which she received a BBC Audio Drama Award, Webby, and British Podcast Award. Lauren was named one of Forbes’s 2018 30 Under 30 in Media and one of MovieMaker Magazine’s and Austin Film Festival’s 25 Screenwriters to Watch. She was born in New York City and grew up in Bronxville, New York. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

Maleeha Siddiqui

Maleeha Siddiqui is a first-generation Pakistani-American Muslim living in Virginia. When she isn’t writing, she can be found working at a biotech company or hanging out with her family. Barakah Beats is based on her own experiences growing up in America as a young practicing Muslim.

Clint Smith

Clint Smith is a staff writer at The Atlantic and the author of the poetry collection Counting Descent. The book won the 2017 Literary Award for Best Poetry Book from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association and was a finalist for an NAACP Image Award. He has received fellowships from New America, the Emerson Collective, the Art For Justice Fund, Cave Canem, and the National Science Foundation. His writing has been published in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Poetry Magazine, The Paris Review and elsewhere. Born and raised in New Orleans, he received his B.A. in English from Davidson College and his Ph.D. in Education from Harvard University. 

Raphael & Opeyemi Sofoluke

Raphael and Opeyemi Sofoluke are entrepreneurs, and husband and wife. Raphael is the founder of the UK Black Business Show, an annual exhibition that promotes businesses founded by members of the black community; and the Black Tech Achievement Awards. Opeyemi is the EMEA Lead for Global Technology, Diversity and Inclusion at one of the world’s biggest banks, and founder of The Growth Box, a Christian subscription box company.

Rivers Solomon

Rivers Solomon writes about life in the margins, where they are much at home. In addition to appearing on the Stonewall Honor List and winning a Firecracker Award, Solomon’s debut novel An Unkindness of Ghosts was a finalist for a Lambda, a Hurston/Wright, an Otherwise (formerly Tiptree) and a Locus award. Solomon’s second book, The Deep, based on the Hugo-nominated song by Daveed Diggs-fronted hip-hop group clipping, was the winner of the 2020 Lambda Award and shortlisted for a Nebula, Locus, Hugo, Ignyte, Brooklyn Library Literary, British Fantasy, and World Fantasy award. Solomon’s short work appears in or is forthcoming from Black Warrior Review, the New York Times, the New York Times Magazine, Guernica, Best American Short Stories, Tor.com, Best American Horror and Dark Fantasy, and elsewhere. A refugee of the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade, Solomon was born on Turtle Island but currently resides on an isle in an archipelago off the western coast of the Eurasian continent.

Erin Somers

Erin Somers is a reporter for publishing industry newsletter Publishers Lunch. She is the author of the novel Stay Up With Hugo Best. Her other writing has appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and elsewhere.

Jamie Southern

Jamie Rogers Southern is the Executive Director of Bookmarks, where she previously was Operations Director for ten years. Before moving to North Carolina, Jamie worked for the American Booksellers Association as Education Coordinator and at the Alabama Booksmith in her native Birmingham as event organizer, buyer, and store manager. Jamie serves on the SIBA board of directors.

Tasha Spillett-Sumner

Tasha Spillett-Sumner is a Cree and Trinidadian award-winning poet and New York Times bestselling author who is also working on her doctoral degree in Indigenous land-based education. She makes her home in Treaty 1 territory, Manitoba, where she raises her daughter, Isabella, with her husband.

Divya Srinivasan

Divya Srinivasan lives in Austin, Texas. Her illustrations have appeared in The New Yorker, and she has done work for This American Life, They Might Be Giants, Sundance Channel, Sufjan Stevens, and Weird Al Yankovic, among others. Divya was also an animator on the film Waking Life. She is the author and illustrator of the picture books Little Owl’s Night, Little Owl’s Day, Little Owl’s Snow, and Octopus Alone, and her newest book is What I Am. She also illustrated the picture book Cinnamon, written by Neil Gaiman.

Jess Stauffer

Jess Stauffer is a former bookseller who has worked for the ABA since 2017.

Karelia Stetz-Waters

Karelia Stetz-Waters is passionate about providing happy endings and a vision of redemptive love for readers of all orientations. Her novels include For GoodSomething TrueThe AdmirerThe Purveyor, and Lambda Literary Award and Golden Crown Literary Society finalist Forgive Me If I’ve Told You This Before. She and her wife live in Oregon and have been together for twenty years. Karelia has a BA in comparative literature from Smith College and an MA in English literature from the University of Oregon, and she currently teaches English at Linn-Benton Community College. Karelia loves to hear from readers, and you can find her at KareliaStetzWaters.com.

Maggie Stiefvater

Maggie Stiefvater is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the novels Shiver, Linger, Forever, and Sinner. Her novel The Scorpio Races was named a Michael L. Printz Honor Book by the American Library Association. The first book in The Raven Cycle, The Raven Boys, was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year and the second book, The Dream Thieves, was an ALA Best Book for Young Adults. The third book, Blue Lily, Lily Blue, received five starred reviews. The final book, The Raven King, received four. She is also the author of All the Crooked Saints and Call Down the Hawk. She is also an artist and musician. She lives in Virginia with her husband and their two children.

Tucker Stone

Tucker Stone is a Client Marketing Manager at Ingram’s Consortium Book Sales, where he focuses on library marketing, children’s books and graphic novels. He won an Eisner Award for his work as the editor of The Comics Journal in 2018. He is the current President Elect for the USBBY, the US chapter of the International Board on Books for Young People, and will serve as that organization’s President in 2022. He currently lives in Minnesota with his wife and daughter.

Kaite Stover

Kaite Stover is the Director of Readers’ Services for The Kansas City Public Library. She holds Master’s degrees in Library Science and English Literature from Emporia State University. Stover is the co-editor of The Readers’ Advisory Handbook (ALA Editions 2010) with Jessica E. Moyer. From 2004-2016, Stover wrote the “He Reads, She Reads” column for Booklist with David Wright and wrote, “Under the Radar” for Public Libraries from 2012-2017. Stover is a founding member and former Steering Committee member for LibraryReads. During the pandemic, Kaite read and listened to far more books than she thought possible, failed to learn how to use an InstaPot, and walked streets in her neighborhood she never knew existed.

Laura Summers

Laura Summers runs BookMachine, the fast-growing community and agency specializing in book publishing. Their mission is to provide every publishing professional globally with knowledge, ideas and connections to help them to progress in their careers.

Tasha Suri

Tasha Suri was born in London to Punjabi parents. She studied English and Creative Writing at Warwick University, and is now a cat-owning librarian in London. A love of period Bollywood films, history, and mythology led her to write South Asian-influenced fantasy.

Kristine Swartz

Kristine Swartz is a graduate of New York University. She joined Berkley in 2012, where she is currently a senior editor and mainly acquires romance, women’s fiction, and mystery.

Elaine Tai

Elaine Tai is an Adult Services Librarian at Burlingame Public Library, where she curates social science and poetry collections, and often presents events around art, talks on social discussions, and conversations with authors. She’s greatly interested in the intersection of social justice and librarianship and the biases rooted throughout our profession, as well as issues like wayfinding and usability. Elaine is also on the Advisory Board for California Libraries Learn (a California State Library & CLA project), Member of the California Center for the Book Program Development Group, Co-Chair of the Pacific Library Partnership Staff Development Committee, in her second year on the APALA Literature Award Committee for Adult Fiction, and was a founding judge for the Global Literature in Libraries Initiative Translated YA Award. She is the author of newly-Kickstarter-funded picture book Yes Means Yes, illustrated by Kai Kwong, and in her spare time she is a [very] amateur artist.

Keynote Speaker

Natasha Tarpley

Natasha Tarpley is the author of the bestselling picture book I Love My Hair!, as well as other acclaimed titles for children and adults. She is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and numerous other awards and she is the cofounder of Voonderbar! Media, a project seeking to expand the depictions of children of color in media. She lives with her family in Chicago, Illinois.

Brandon Taylor

Brandon Taylor is the author of the acclaimed novel Real Life, which has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize, longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, and named a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice. He holds graduate degrees from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the University of Iowa, where he was an Iowa Arts Fellow at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in fiction.

Dustin Thao

Dustin Thao is a Vietnamese-American writer based in Southern California. He graduated from Amherst College with a B.A. in Political Science, and is in a PhD program at Northwestern University. He writes contemporary young adult fiction. You’ve Reached Sam is his YA debut.

Karen Toulon

Karen Amanda Toulon is an award-winning print and broadcast journalist with more than 30 years of experience covering global business, economic, and financial markets news. She enjoys telling stories that matter through interviews with political, industry and cultural thought leaders. Karen is the host of Bloomberg’s “Black in Focus” weekly live interview series, and writes for Bloomberg print outlets including Businessweek and Markets magazines. Karen has been honored by her peers as a Business News Visionary for her transformative contributions to the news profession. She received a Gwen Ifill Award from the International Women’s Media Foundation and a Pegasus Award from the Newswomen’s Club of New York for newsroom leadership in diversity and mentoring. Inspired by the stories told by her parents and extended family, and by her own Caribbean experiences, The ABCs of Paradise Found is Karen’s first work of fiction and her first collaboration with her husband Eric Rhinehart, who created all of the original paintings used to illustrate the story. Karen’s parents moved from the Commonwealth of Dominica in the Caribbean to London, where she was born. Raised in NY, Karen earned her BA from Dartmouth College and a masters from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Karen and her husband have two daughters, and live in New Jersey.

Ly Tran

Ly Tran graduated from Columbia University in 2014 with a degree in Creative Writing and Linguistics. She has received fellowships from MacDowell, Art Omi, and Yaddo. House of Sticks is her first book.

Cadwell Turnbull

Cadwell Turnbull is the author of The Lesson. He is a graduate from the North Carolina State University’s Creative Writing M.F.A. in Fiction and English M.A. in Linguistics. Turnbull is also a graduate of Clarion West 2016. His novel The Lesson was the winner of the 2020 Neukom Institute Literary Award in the debut category. The Lesson was shortlisted for the VCU Cabell Award and longlisted for the Massachusetts Book Award. Turnbull grew up in the U.S. Virgin Islands and currently lives in Raleigh where he teaches creative writing at North Carolina State University. His second novel, No Gods, No Monsters, will release in September 2021.

Julia Turner

Julia Turner, with co-owner Christen Thompson, opened Itinerant Literate Books as a mobile pop-up bookstore in 2015. Since the opening of the store’s permanent location in 2018, Julia has taken over the bookkeeping and financial management of business operations. Itinerant Literate has been using Batch for Books since March 2020.

Karina Urquhart

Karina is the Executive Director of BIC and has held this position since February 2012. She has been instrumental in the restructure and re-invigoration of BIC which has seen the creation of an agile members organisation focused on driving and delivering meaningful change and education across all sectors of the UK book industry. In terms of experience, Karina has worked in the book industry for over 28 years including 5 years with Dorling Kindersley followed by 12 years at Penguin UK where she held several supply chain and operational roles, latterly as the Digital & Data Supply Chain Manager. She has a wealth of operational and data experience in both the physical and digital supply chains and other previous roles have included customer operations, stock management and international sales/rights.

Chris Vaccari

Chris Vaccari is the Director of National Accounts & Library Marketing at Sterling, where has worked since May 1997. (FYI – The # 1 song on Billboard in May 1997 was MmmBop by Hanson). A lifelong New Yorker, he also attends, arranges author appearances and speaks at local & national library conferences throughout the year. When not working, he enjoys watching movies and TV, running, cooking, drinking Dr. Pepper, eating Nilla Wafers and of course, reading great books.

Elisabet Velasquez

Elisabet Velasquez is a Boricua writer born in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Her work has been featured in Muzzle Magazine, Winter Tangerine, Latina Magazine, We Are Mitú, Tidal and more. She is a 2017 Poets House fellow and the 2017 winner of the Button Poetry Video Contest. Her work is featured in Martín Espada’s anthology What Saves Us: Poems of Empathy and Outrage in the Age of Trump. Elisabet lives in Jersey City, New Jersey, and When We Make It is her debut novel.

Rebecca Vnuk

Rebecca Vnuk is the Executive Director of LibraryReads. She has an MLIS from Dominican University and worked as a public librarian for a decade before becoming the editor for Collection Management and Library Outreach at Booklist magazine. Rebecca is the author of three reference books on the topic of Women’s Fiction, as well as a best-selling book on weeding library collections. She was named a Library Journal Mover and Shaker in 2010 and was the 2010 PLA Allie Beth Martin Award Winner for distinguished Readers Advisory Service. She lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband and two tween sons (both of whom still love to read, whew!).

Savanna Walker

Savanna Walker was a reviewer for BookPage before joining the editorial staff in 2017. She now oversees all genre coverage for BookPage (Mystery/Suspense, Romance and Sci-fi & Fantasy), as well as the Book Clubs column.

Jo Watson

Jo Watson is the bestselling author of nine romantic comedies that were originally published on Wattpad and have now been translated into six different languages. Her first novel, Burning Moon, won a 2014 Watty Award for being one of the site’s most read titles and she has since accumulated over 50 million reads on the platform. Big Boned marks her YA debut. Jo is a Depeche Mode devotee and lives with her husband and son in South Africa.

Rebekah Weatherspoon

Rebekah Weatherspoon is a multi award-winning romance author and the creator of WOCinRomance.com, an online resource for discovering romances written by women and non-binary people of color. Her series, Cowboys of California, is currently being developed for TV. Raised on the campus of Phillips Exeter Academy in Southern New Hampshire, Rebekah has BA in English with a concentration in Shakespearean works. She now lives in Southern California and can be found online at RebekahWeatherspoon.com and on Twitter at @rdotspoon.

Sara Wedell

Sara Wedell is the Collections Manager at the Ann Arbor District Library. In her 15-year career as a public librarian, she has worked in organizations sized small, medium, and large.

Alexa Wejko

Alexa Wejko is a publicist and editor at Soho Press.

Ellen Whitaker

Ellen Whitaker is a marketing associate at Bloomsbury Publishing where she has worked for over four years. A graduate of the Columbia Publishing Course, she previously worked at Workman Publishing and as a bookseller at Sundog Books in Florida. A native of Mississippi, she is currently based in her hometown of Vicksburg.

Jane White

Jane White received her BA and AMLS from the University of Michigan. She spent 15 years working in public libraries as a Children’s, YA and Reference Librarian before accepting a position with the publisher John Wiley & Sons, Inc. She spent the next 23 years at Wiley in various positions including Account Manager, Regional Sales Director and Global Director of Sales Support. She is currently the Library Success Manager at Above the Treeline and lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Tia Williams

Tia Williams had a fifteen-year career as a beauty editor for magazines including Elle, Glamour, and Essence. In 2004, she pioneered the beauty blog industry with Shake Your Beauty. She wrote the bestselling novel, The Accidental Diva, and penned two YA novels: It Chicks, and Sixteen Candles. Her award-winning novel, The Perfect Find, will be adapted into a Netflix film starring Gabrielle Union. Tia is currently an Editorial Director at Estee Lauder Companies, and lives with her daughter and husband in Brooklyn.

Jamia Wilson

Jamia Wilson joined Random House as an executive editor in 2021, and is the former executive director and publisher of the Feminist Press. An activist and writer, Wilson has contributed to New York Magazine, The New York Times, The Today Show, CNN, BBC, Teen Vogue, Elle, Refinery 29, Rookie, and The Guardian. She is the author of Young Gifted and Black; Baby Young, Gifted, and Black; Step Into Your Power; and Big Ideas for Young Thinkers. She is also a co-author of Road Map for Revolutionaries and wrote the introduction and oral history to Together We Rise: Behind the Scenes at the Protest Heard Around the World.

Jarrod Wilson

Jarrod Wilson, Head, Technical Services for the Kalamazoo Public Library, has more than 23 years developing innovative technology solutions for both private and public sector organizations. Working with the Kalamazoo Public Library Jarrod has brought consumer best practices in technical projects into the Library space. Working alongside other industry professionals, he is striving to make the on-line patron experience more engaging, accessible and fun. Jarrod currently lives in Kalamazoo Michigan where he enjoys spending time with his family.

Ellen Wright

Ellen Wright is the associate publicity director at Orbit, Hachette Book Group’s science fiction and fantasy imprint.

Phoebe Yeh

Phoebe Yeh is the Vice President and co-publisher at Crown Books for Young Readers/Random House. She has published the New York Times bestsellers, Max & the Midknights books by Lincoln Peirce, Dear Justyce and debut novels Dear Martin and Clean Getaway by Nic Stone. She has published anthologies on themes of social justice with Cheryl Willis Hudson and Wade Hudson of Just Us Books and short story anthologies with We Need Diverse Books; Mahogany L. Browne’s first YA novel Chlorine Sky and Kelly J. Baptist’s debut middle grade novel, Isaiah Dunn Is My Hero, a BEA Buzz selection. Upcoming titles include Marcus Makes a Movie by Kevin Hart with Geoff Rodkey and Fast Pitch, a middle grade novel by Nic Stone. She is a recipient of the inaugural CBC Diversity Outstanding Achievement Award.

Karen Yingling

Former Latin teacher and current middle school librarian. Old, ornery, and opining about books since 2006 at Ms. Yingling Reads.

Ramunda Lark Young

Ramunda Lark Young is a passionate speaker, committed community leader and dedicated entrepreneur. She is Co-Founder/Owner of MahoganyBooks, a nationally recognized and award-winning bookstore in Washington, DC created with her husband, Derrick. Recognized as a book industry leader with more than a decade of experience, Young is a sought after speaker and panelist who focuses on the crucial importance of books and literacy in the community. MahoganyBooks continues to be the premier online destination for books written for, by and about people of African descent and recently made history by opening its first physical bookstore in the historic Anacostia community of DC. To date, Young has developed sold out events with luminaries like Misty Copeland, Charlie Wilson, April Ryan, Congressman John Lewis and a host of others.

Leslie C. Youngblood

Leslie C. Youngblood received an MFA from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. A former assistant professor of creative writing at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, she has lectured at Mississippi State University, UNC-Greensboro, and the University of Ghana at Legon. She’s been awarded a host of writing honors, including a 2014 Yaddo’s Elizabeth Ames Residency, the Lorian Hemingway Short Story Prize, a Hurston Wright Fellowship, and the Room of Her Own Foundation’s 2009 Orlando Short Story Prize. In 2010 she won the Go On Girl! Book Club Aspiring Writer Award. Born in Bogalusa, Louisiana, and raised in Rochester, she’s fortunate to have a family of natural storytellers and a circle of supportive family and friends. Love Like Sky was her first novel.

Katie Zhao

Katie Zhao is the author of The Dragon Warrior series. She grew up in Michigan, where there was little for her to do besides bury her nose in a good book or a writing journal. When she’s not writing, Katie enjoys reading, singing, dancing (badly), and checking out Instagram-worthy restaurants. She now lives in Brooklyn, New York.