Keynote & Breakout Speakers:
Winsome Bingham wears two publishing hats – an author hat and an Acquiring Editor hat. As an author, her debut picture book, SOUL FOOD SUNDAY, was one of Publishers Weekly and New York Times Best Books of the Year. As an editor, she acquires picture books, chapter books, and middle grade novels at ReyCraft Books. She is a connoisseur of soul foods and master cook (at dinner parties, reunions, and get-togethers). She is a teacher by trade and a disabled military veteran by circumstance. She received both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education and an MFA in Writing For Children and Young Adults. She loves mentoring writers and supporting writers on their journey to publication.
**Winsome will offer 5 written & 4 Zoom critiques, PB only
Victoria Ying is a critically acclaimed author and artist living in Los Angeles. She started her career in the arts by falling in love with comic books, this eventually turned into a career working in animation and graphic novels. She loves Japanese Curry, putting things in her shopping cart online and taking them out again and hanging out with her husband and furry friends. Her film credits include Tangled, Wreck it Ralph, Frozen, Paperman, Big Hero 6, and Moana. She is the illustrator on DC’s DIANA PRINCESS OF THE AMAZONS and the author and illustrator of CITY OF SECRETS and the sequel CITY OF ILLUSION in stores everywhere! Her upcoming graphic novel projects include the sequel to DIANA PRINCESS OF THE AMAZONS and a YA debut, HUNGRY GHOST.
Breakout Session Speakers:
Ashley Hearn is an acquisitions editor at Peachtree Publishing. Her authors include New York Times bestsellers and have earned starred reviews in Kirkus, Booklist, School Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, and Shelf Awareness, and have received numerous commercial and literary recognitions including a William Morris Award nomination and inclusion on TIME’s list of “Best Fantasy Novels of All Time” for WOVEN IN MOONLIGHT. Former mentees and clients include #1 New York Times bestselling author Tomi Adeyemi (CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE), New York Times bestselling author Adalyn Grace (ALL THE STARS AND TEETH), and Alexis Henderson (THE YEAR OF THE WITCHING). When she steps away from her desk, she can be found wandering the North Georgia mountains, swinging long swords at her HEMA fencing club, or haunting a local coffee shop. Find her on Twitter @AshleyHearn or Instagram @_AshleyHearn.
**Ashley will offer 4 written & 4 Zoom critiques, YA and MG novels only
Stephanie Fretwell-Hill is a literary agent with 20 years of experience in the children’s book publishing industry. After starting her career in foreign rights at Walker Books in the UK, Stephanie moved home to the US as an acquiring editor at Peachtree Publishers. In 2016, she joined Red Fox Literary where she represents authors and illustrators of fiction and nonfiction picture books, middle grade, and YA. Her clients include R. W. Alley, Carolyn Crimi, Donna Gephart, Christina Soontornvat, and Archana Sreenivasan. Stephanie lives in North Carolina with her English husband, two very spirited young daughters, and a rescued border collie.
**Stephanie will offer 5 written critiques, PB and MG only
Ramona Pina is an associate agent at BookEnds Literary. She is interested in carving a space for and elevating underrepresented voices. Fantasy, magical realism, sci-fi, paranormal romance, horror, and a spin-off of villain retellings are her favorite genres. In YA and Adult fantasy, give her a fast-paced adventure that emphasizes the hero’s journey! But she’s also hoping to see more SciFi that focuses more on Fiction and less on technology while still showcasing how to build a better world. If you have a SFF story that is slightly different from this, she’s open to being pleasantly surprised.
**Ramona will offer 4 Zoom critiques: PB and YA only.
Irene Latham is a grateful creator of many novels, poetry collections, and picture books, including CAN I TOUCH YOUR HAIR? POEMS OF RACE, MISTAKES, AND FRIENDSHIP (co-authored with Charles Waters), which earned a Charlotte Huck Honor, and THE CAT MAN OF ALEPPO (co-authored with Karim Shamsi-Basha), which won a Caldecott Honor. Irene lives with her husband on a lake in rural Alabama, where their nearest neighbors are a pair of bald eagles.
**Irene will offer 5 written critiques: PB (fiction or nonfiction), poetry collection, verse novel or MG/YA, if it’s contemporary or historical fiction. (“I’m not the best choice for fantasy.”)
Charles Waters is a children’s poet, actor, educator, and co-author (with Irene Latham) of BE A BRIDGE; AFRICAN TOWN; DICTIONARY FOR A BETTER WORLD: POEMS, QUOTES AND ANECDOTES FROM A – Z; and the award-winning CAN I TOUCH YOUR HAIR? POEMS OF RACE, MISTAKES, AND FRIENDSHIP. His poems have appeared in various anthologies by Lee Bennett Hopkins, Paul B. Janeczko, J. Patrick Lewis, and Georgia Heard. He lives near Atlanta.
**Charles will offer 5 Zoom critiques, PB or poetry collections
Heather L. Montgomery writes for kids who are wild about animals. An award-winning author and educator, she credits SCBWI (and many volunteer hours) for helping her gain skills and confidence. Her 17 nonfiction books include SOMETHING ROTTEN: A FRESH LOOK AT ROADKILL, and WHAT’S IN YOUR POCKET? OLLECTING NATURE’S TREASURES.
**Heather will offer 5 written & 5 Zoom critiques, nonfiction only
Heather C. Morris writes books full of science, wonder, and imagination for kids of all ages. Her two write-for-hire books written for North Star Editions will be published in Fall 2023. Her debut picture book TRUNK GOES THUNK (Gnome Road Publishing), and the HAUNTED STATES OF AMERICA anthology (Macmillan/Henry Holt), which includes her ghost story about her home state of Alabama, are scheduled to release in Fall 2024. She is a member of SCBWI and the 12×12 picture book challenge community, and her short stories and poetry have appeared in multiple arts journals and anthologies.
**Heather will offer 4 Zoom critiques, PB or MG
Additional Critique Faculty:
Deborah Halverson is the award-winning author of Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies and Writing New Adult Fiction, as well as teen novels, books in a series for struggling readers, and a picture book. Formerly an editor at Harcourt Children’s Books and now a freelance editor specializing in picture books and Young Adult/Middle Grade fiction and nonfiction, Deborah has been working with authors—bestsellers, veterans, debut, and aspiring—for over twenty-five years. She is also the founder of the popular writers’ advice site DearEditor.com and serves on the advisory board for the UC San Diego Extension “Children’s Book Writing and Illustrating” certificate program.
**Deborah will offer 10 Zoom critiques of any type of manuscript except for graphic novels (GN), chapter books/early readers. Please note: Deborah will not be at the conference. She will participate only as a critiquer.
Kaitlyn Sanchez is a mom, wife, agent with Bradford Literary Agency, and middle school math teacher. She’s also the proud co-creator and co-host of the Spring Fling Kidlit Contest and Kidlit Zombie Week as well as creator and co-host of the Kidlit Fall Writing Frenzy Contest. In her free time, she loves to play soccer, binge-watch TV shows, and, of course, read. Especially when she’s all cozied up with her husband and daughter reading together. Find her on Twitter and Facebook. Please follow my clients on social media: https://kaitlynleannsanchez.com/literary-clients/
**Kaitlyn will offer 5 written & 5 Zoom critiques, including PB, author-illustrated PB, MG, YA, author-illustrated GN for MG and YA (but not GN script only). Please note: Kaitlyn will not be at the conference. She will participate only as a critiquer.