Special Guests

Photo of Julie Berry

Julie Berry is the author of the award-winning young adult novel, All the Truth that’s In Me (2013, Viking). She is also the author of The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place (2014, Roaring Brook), The Amaranth Enchantment  and Secondhand Charm (Bloomsbury), and the Splurch Academy for Discruptive Boys series (Penguin Books for Young Readers). She grew up in western New York and holds a BS from Rensselaer in communication and an MFA from Vermont College in writing for children and young adults. Before becoming an author, she worked in software sales and marketing. She now lives in southern California with her husband and four sons. Find her online at www.julieberrybooks.com, or on Twitter at @julieberrybooks. Photo Credit: Bruce Lucier

Michelle Branson

Michelle Branson is the Contract Administrator and an acquiring editor at Gibbs Smith, Publisher in Layton, Utah. She heads the cookbook acquisitions team, is on the children’s acquisitions team, and has been at her job, wearing multiple hats, since 2006. Prior to then, she had various and sundry jobs such as working for the Associated Press, teaching world civilizations to college freshman, and being a mom and wife to a military family.

She has a BA in history with minors in English and dance from Southern Methodist University and a MA in Russian History from the University of Hawaii. She is also the author of Texas Doodles.

Bob Cooper Placeholder-Man

Bob Cooper is a senior editor at Gibbs Smith, Publisher, in Layton, Utah. He has been an editor for more than 20 years, and has worked on everything from comic books to legal briefs. He has a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Davis, and an MBA from UCLA—further proof there’s no such thing as a typical career path in the publishing industry.


Emily Feinberg, Editor from Roaring Brook Press

Works on: Mostly picture book, chapter book, and middle grade titles, though I would never turn down a chance to look at a humorous, realistic young adult novel.

Looking for: Quirky, voice-driven picture books and middle grade and nonfiction for young readers. Young adult fantasy is not her thing.

Recent Titles: I’m currently editing the upcoming nonfiction picture books Coyote Moon and Highway Hawks by Maria Gianferrari, the latter illustrated by Brian Floca. I also recently acquired Marina Cohen’s The Inn Between, a supremely creepy middle grade story about a haunted Nevada inn with a strong emotional hook.

Ben Grange

Before joining the L. Perlkins Agency, Ben Grange worked all over the publishing industry. He started out at a small publishing company in Salt Lake City and proceeded to do internships at three literary agencies before his most recent position as the assistant at JABberwocky Literary Agency. He decided he wanted to be an agent after his first internship, and is excited to start actively pursing clients.

His tastes gravitate towards middle grade fiction of all types, and is particularly on the lookout for exceptional author-illustrators who write middle grade or young adult. He has a penchant for young adult science fiction and fantasy, particularly weird or slightly dark stories (à la The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater). Thanks to his time at JABberwocky, he loves epic fantasy and science fiction, and although his focus is on middle grade and young adult, he won’t say no to a great fantasy or sci-fi. He is also interested in pop culture non-fiction for authors with established platforms.

Ben doesn’t represent picture books, women’s fiction, erotica, or non-fiction (other than specified above).

Twitter: @BLGrange.
Amy Jameson

Amy Jameson began her career in publishing at Janklow & Nesbit Associates in New York City, where her first client was Shannon Hale. She launched her own agency, A+B Works, in 2004 with her husband Brandon, providing literary representation, editorial, brand development and design services. Amy currently represents New York Times bestselling author Jessica Day George and a select crop of up-and-coming Young Adult and Middle Grade authors. She is particularly fond of gardening, National Parks, Asian food, orangutans and her three children.

Twitter: @amylujameson


Michelle Witte is a literary agent with Mansion Street Literary Managementspecializing in children’s fiction and nonfiction. As an agent, her tastes vary widely, and she represents authors across the spectrum of kids books, from illustrated board and picture books to middle grade, young adult fiction and nonfiction. Michelle is always on the lookout for fascinating stories that are well told, especially those with a distinct voice. Her published work includes The Craptastic Guide to Pseudo-Swearing and The Faker’s Guide to the Classics. She lives in Utah.

Two-, Three-, Five-Day Workshop Faculty

Jennifer Adams b&w

Jennifer Adams is the author of more than thirty books, including the best-selling BabyLit board books, which introduce small children to the world of classic literature. She worked as a book editor for twenty years, and is a sometime bookseller at The King’s English independent bookshop.
Twitter: @BabyLitJen

Instagram: writerjenadams


Ken Baker is the author of the picture books Old MacDonald had a Dragon, Cow Can’t Sleep, Brave Little Monster, and the upcoming How to Care for Your T-Rex (2018). His Kid Boss and Zooks and Me series of middle-grade short stories are published on Amazon Rapids. He also invests significant writing time on chapter books, MG and YA. When not writing, he loves playing sports and going on adventures with his family in the mountains, lakes and red rocks of Utah. When he has the chance, traveling to warm sandy beaches is a vacation favorite. And for those who care, he’s a firm believer that chocolate and ice cream are the most important food groups.


Stephen Fraser joined The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency as an agent in January 2005. He worked most recently at HarperCollins Children’s Books, where he edited such creative talents as Mary Engelbreit, Gregory Maguire, Michael Hague, Ann Rinaldi, Kathryn Lasky, Brent Hartinger, Stephen Mitchell, and Dan Gutman. He began his career at Highlights for Children and later worked at Scholastic and Simon & Schuster. A graduate of Middlebury College in Vermont, he has a Master’s degree in Children’s Literature from Simmons College in Boston. He represents both children’s and adult books in a wide range of genres.


Lindsey Leavitt is the author of over a dozen books for kids, tweens, and teens, including the Princess for Hire trilogy, Sean Griswold’s Head, Going Vintage, The Chapel Wars, The Pages Between Us series and The Commander in Cheese series. She is a former elementary school teacher and present-day writer/mom/speaker/party animal (not to be confused with her spirit animal, which is a lion). A graduate of BYU, Lindsey uses her teaching background to present to hundreds of schools across the nation. Lindsey lives in Midway, Utah with her husband and their rambunctious blended family.

Lisa Mangum

Lisa Mangum has loved and worked with books ever since elementary school, when she volunteered at the school library during recess. She graduated with honors from the University of Utah with a degree in English. An avid reader of all genres, she has worked in the publishing industry since 1997. She was recently named Managing Editor of Shadow Mountain Publishing.

She is also the award-winning author of the Hourglass Door trilogy and After Hello. She has also published several short stories and novellas and has edited two anthologies about unicorns. She lives in Taylorsville, Utah, with her husband, Tracy.

Social media links: @LisaMangum (Twitter); Facebook.com/LisaMangum

Kathryn Purdie

Kathryn Purdie is the author of the YA fantasy, Burning Glass (Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins) and its forthcoming sequel, Crystal Blade. She lives near Salt Lake City, Utah, with her husband and three children. Kathryn is a trained classical actress who studied at the Oxford School of Drama and was inspired to write her debut trilogy while recovering from donating a kidney to her older brother. Kathryn has taught writing classes at Sundance Workshops, LDStorymakers Conferences, and was the keynote speaker for the BYU Idaho College of Language and Letters. You can find her online at kathrynpurdie.com.


Janette Rallison

USA Today bestselling author, Janette Rallison/ CJ Hill writes books because writing is much more fun than cleaning bathrooms. Her avoidance of housework has led her to writing 23 novels that have sold over 1,000,000 print copies and have been on many reading and state lists. Her books are fantasy, sci-fi, and romantic comedy because hey, there is enough angst in real life, but there’s a drastic shortage of humor, romance and hot guys who fight dragons. She lives in Chandler, Arizona with her husband, kids, and enough cats to classify her as eccentric. You can find Janette Rallison & CJ Hill on her/their website HERE.

Photo of Ilima Todd

Ilima Todd was born and raised on the north shore of Oahu and dives for octopus with her dad every time she visits—otherwise she’s diving into books in the Rocky Mountains where she lives with her husband and four children. She graduated from BYU with a degree in physics and eats copious amounts of raw fish and avocados without regret. But mostly she loves being a wife and mama and wouldn’t trade that job for anything in the world.


Carol Lynch Williams is the author of more than 30 books for middle grade and young adult readers. She runs Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers–now in its seventeenth year–(www.wifyr.com), has an MFA in Writing for Children and Adolescents from Vermont College and writes on an active blog with fellow writers Ann Dee Ellis and Kyra Leigh Williams (www.throwingupwords.wordpress.com). She teaches creative writing at Brigham Young University. Her books include The Chosen One, Miles from Ordinary, Waiting, Signed, Skye Harper, and The Haven.

She is proudest of her five daughters who are Carol’s most perfect creative effort, ever.

One-Day Faculty


Brodi Ashton received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Utah and a master’s degree in international relations from the London School of Economics. Brodi has an active following on her blog, which can be found at www.brodisashton.blogspot.com. She lives in Utah with her family.


Ann Dee Ellis is the author of three young adult novels (This is What I Did:Everything is FineThe End or Something Like) and one middle grade novel (You May Already be a Winner). Her books have received multiple starred reviews and other honors. Ellis teaches creative writing and rhetoric at Brigham Young University. When she’s not writing and teaching, she’s wrestling one of her five kids or hiking in the foothills with her husband.

Sharlee Glenn

Sharlee Glenn is the mother of five and the wife of one; a writer and teacher and a lover of books, water aerobics, parentheses, and all things chocolate.

Sharlee grew up on a farm in northeastern Utah, the daughter of a widow with seven children (“what’s so fearsome about that?”). She graduated from Brigham Young University with a B.A. and then an M.A. in Humanities with emphases in English and Art History. She taught at BYU for eight years and then took a year off after her fifth baby was born. Somewhat surprisingly, she found she liked being “off” so much that she never went back. Instead she decided to launch her writing career—something she had originally planned to do in her 60’s.

Sharlee has published articles, essays, poems, and short stories for adults in periodicals such as Women’s Studies, The Southern Literary Journal, and Segullah. Her primary focus, though, is writing for children. Her stories have appeared in Cricket and Ladybug magazines and she has written three picture books: One in a Billion (Horizon), Keeping up with Roo (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), winner of the Dolly Gray Children’s Literature Award, and Just What Mama Needs (Harcourt).

She is represented by Sara Crowe of Harvey Klinger, Inc.


J. Scott Savage is the author of 16 novels including the Mysteries of Cove series, the Farworld middle grade fantasy series, and the Case File 13 middle grade monster series. He has been writing and publishing books for over fourteen years. He has visited over 1000 schools, dozens of writers conferences, and taught many writing classes. He has four children and three grandchildren. He lives with his wife Jennifer in a windy valley of the Rocky Mountains. He loves hearing from his readers at Scott at jscottsavage.com or on his website, http://www.jscottsavage.com.

Afternoon Faculty

Christian Heidicker

Christian McKay Heidicker has accomplished a handful of things outside of video games. He published a short story called “There Are No Marshmallows in Camelot” on Cast of Wonders and co-created a website called the Foxing Bureau. He’s never met a cute girl at a car wash, but he does live with the love of his life in Salt Lake City, Utah . . . and he often wonders how in the hell he did it.

Emily R. King_Photo

Emily R. King is a reader of everything and a writer of fantasy. Born in Canada and raised in the USA, she has perfected the use of “eh” and “y’all” and uses both interchangeably. Shark advocate, consumer of gummy bears, and islander at heart, Emily’s greatest interests are her four children. She’s a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and an active participant in her local writers’ community. Her debut, The Hundredth Queen, releases June 1, 2017.

Kyra Leigh

Kyra Leigh works off and on at the annual Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers workshop. She loves to travel, play classical piano, and talk books with her mom and four sisters. She lives in Salt Lake City. You can visit Kyra on Facebook, Instagram, and on the blog she shares with her mother and Ann Dee Ellis (www.throwingupwords.wordpress.com.) Reaper is her first book.

Tricia Levenseller

Tricia Levenseller is from a small town in Oregon, but she now lives in Utah with her bossy dog, Rosy. She received her degree in English Language and editing, and she is thrilled that she never has to read another textbook again. When she’s not writing or reading, Tricia enjoys putting together jigsaw puzzles, playing volleyball, and watching her favorite TV shows while eating extra-buttered popcorn.

Dene Low black cape hand up

Dene Low has written several books, with the latest being Cookies to Die For, which came out 2014. Her writing spans the genres of Young Adult historical fantasy to mainstream mystery and historical fiction and some scholarly publications on the side, including poetry. Her books have won numerous awards, including being a finalist for the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award and a selection of the Junior Library Guild. She is a university professor who teaches writing. She and her husband love to see their many grandchildren and travel. She especially likes riding her motorcycle as a way to think about what to put into her books.


Jess Smart Smiley makes rad pictures with his bare hands! Jess has created more than a dozen books for children, including graphic novels, a 32-page bilingual children’s comic, a hidden object book, chapter books, and a handful of picture books. See more at jess-smiley.com.

Shawna Tenney

Shawna J.C. Tenney is an author and illustrator with a passion for picture books. Shawna graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Illustration from Brigham Young University  in 2004.  Since then, she has created artwork for many children’s books, magazines and games. It took Shawna a while to discover that her true passion lies in writing and illustrating her very own stories. Brunhilda’s Backwards Day is Shawna’s first book as both author and illustrator. Shawna lives in Utah with her husband and two daughters. 

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