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Special Guests 2024

John Cusick | Agent, Folio Literary Management

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John Cusick is a VP and literary agent with Folio Literary Management, representing a diverse list of award winners and New York Times bestsellers. His focus is middle grade, young adult, and crossover fiction. He is also the author of the YA novels Girl Parts and Cherry Money Baby (Candlewick Press), and the middle-grade series Dimension Why: How to Save the Universe Without Really Trying (HarperCollins).

Website: Folio Literary Management

Stephen Fraser | Agent, The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency

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Stephen Fraser has been a literary agent with The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency in New York City for 20 years, after working for more than twenty-five years at seven major publishers including HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, and Scholastic. His clients have won the Newbery Honor Medal, both the Edgar and PEN awards, and received multiple starred reviews. He is a graduate of Middlebury College in Vermont with a degree in English Literature and has a Master’s Degree in Children’s Literature from Simmons College in Boston. Stephen is a popular speaker at writer’s conferences throughout the country. He has recently established the Stephen Fraser Encouragement Fund through SCBWI’s Impact and Legacy division, which offers three grants annually of $2,000 to writers, illustrators, and translators with at least one book published.

Website: The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency

Heidi Taylor Gordon | Editor, Shadow Mountain

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Heidi Taylor Gordon has been with Shadow Mountain for the past fifteen years. She graduated from the University of Utah where she had the opportunity to study English and Creative Writing. Heidi works as a publishing manager for Shadow Mountain, and as a brand manager for the Proper Romance imprint – Shadow Mountain’s line of clean romances. Her job allows her to work one-on-one with authors to acquire and develop their manuscripts from conception to publication. She loves searching for diamonds in the slush pile!

Website: Shadow Mountain

Amy Jameson | Agent, A + B Works

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Amy Jameson began her career in publishing at Janklow & Nesbit Associates in New York City, where she launched Newbery Honor winning author, Shannon Hale’s career. She started her own agency, A+B Works, in 2004 with her husband Brandon, providing literary representation, editorial coaching, 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, middle grade and picture book authors. She is particularly fond of meeting new people, Broadway musicals, the mountains and deserts of her home state, and her three children.

Website: A + B Works

Lisa Mangum | Editor, Shadow Mountain

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Lisa Mangum has loved and worked with books ever since elementary school, when she volunteered at the school library during recess. Her first paying job was shelving books at the Sandy Library. She worked for five years at Waldenbooks while she attended the University of Utah, graduating with honors with a degree in English. An avid reader of all genres, she has worked in the publishing department for Deseret Book since 1997. Besides books, Lisa loves movies, sunsets, spending time with her family, trips to Disneyland, and vanilla ice cream topped with fresh raspberries. She lives in Taylorsville, Utah, with her husband, Tracy. She is the author of the Hourglass Door trilogy and After Hello.

Website: 
Shadow Mountain

Samantha Millburn | Editor, Shadow Mountain

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Samantha Millburn is the senior editor at Shadow Mountain and has worked for the Deseret Book Company publishing imprints for fourteen years. She collaborates with talented, award-winning authors and cherishes not only her friendships with them but also the honor it is to help mold their manuscripts into masterpieces. She has done so with many dozens of authors and hundreds of books.
Samantha graduated with honors in English from BYU–Idaho. She currently lives in Rigby, Idaho, with her husband, Matthew, and their five beautiful children. Besides reading, Samantha enjoys watching and playing sports, cooking, and being with family.

WebsiteShadow Mountain

Kristin Ostby | Agent, The Greenhouse Literary Agency

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Kristin Ostby represents authors of middle grade and young adult fiction, as well as picture book author/illustrators. She is primarily seeking voice- and character-driven contemporary middle-grade and young adult fiction, with a focus on BIPOC creators.

Prior to becoming a literary agent, Kristin moved from Michigan to New York to begin her career in publishing at Penguin Random House and rose to become a senior editor at Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. She has edited children’s book legend Tomie dePaola; New York Times bestselling authors like Stuart Gibbs (Spy School) and US soccer star Alex Morgan (The Kicks); and award-winning creators including Daniel Miyares (Float), Jessica Lawson (Nooks & Crannies), and Heather Vogel Frederick (The Mother-Daughter Book Club). She also edited bestselling I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy and Elizabeth Baddeley. She loves guiding authors and illustrators toward their best work and advocating for them in service of building successful, sustainable artistic careers. 

Kristin lives in Brooklyn, New York. Follow her on Twitter at @kristinostby and discover more about her taste on her Publishers Marketplace page.

Website: The Greenhouse Literary Agency

Joy Peskin | Editor, Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers

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As Executive Editorial Director of Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers and Division Vice President of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, Joy Peskin manages a department of six editors and edits a range of books for children and teenagers. Books she has edited for FSG BYR include The 57 Bus, by Dashka Slater, New York Times Bestseller and recipient of many honors including the Stonewall Book Award (winner), YALSA-ALA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction (finalist), Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Nonfiction (honor); Speak: The Graphic Novel, written by Laurie Halse Anderson with art by Emily Carroll, recipient of five starred reviews; and For Black Girls Like Me and Stonewall Honor book In the Key of Us, by Mariama Lockington, each the recipient of five starred reviews. 
At Macmillan, Joy is the leader of the MCPG Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee and she teaches a company-wide course on author care.
Before joining Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers in February, 2012, Joy was the associate publisher of Viking Children’s Books and an editor at Scholastic. A graduate of Vassar College and the Radcliffe Publishing Program, Joy has taught writing to aspiring authors, youth experiencing homelessness, women experiencing incarceration, and teens in a juvenile detention center. Her own essays have been published in Salon, Glamour, Parents magazine, Publishers Weekly, and Lilith magazine and she is the recipient of the Award for Excellence in Writing about Seniors, Simon Rockower Awards for Excellence in Jewish Journalism. Dear Hope, a play she wrote, was produced by the Hangar Theater in Ithaca, New York, in November, 2020.
She has mentored and tutored children in New York City and New Jersey since 1997, and she is now a CASA (court appointed special advocate) within the foster care system in Essex County, New Jersey.
Joy has served on the boards of Every Child a Reader and Literacy for Incarcerated Teens.



Website: Joy Peskin

Kelsy Thompson | Editor, Erewhon Books

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Kelsy Thompson is a freelance ghostwriter and editor from Ogden, Utah. She has served as managing editor at distinguished literary journal Weber—The Contemporary West, acquisition editor for North Star Editions and its children’s imprints, and is currently working with Erewhon Books as a production editor.
As a freelancer, Kelsy works with publishers and indie authors alike, and her ghostwritten works have received million
s of views. Kelsy has edited everything from award-winning books to passion projects, and loves working hand-in-hand with authors to make their manuscripts shine.


Website: Erewhon Books
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