2018 Summer Speakers and Guests

All events are open to the public.


2018 Writer-in-Residence

Monday, June 25, 7:30 p.m., VAC Auditorium
Kathryn ErskineKathryn Erskine is winner of the National Book Award in 2010 for Mockingbird. She is also the author of The Incredible Magic of Being, Mama Africa, The Badger Knight, Seeing Red, The Absolute Value of Mike, and Quaking. Her newest novel is The Incredible Magic of Being. She will be on campus for two weeks and will give a public lecture and meet individually with students for manuscript consultation.


2018 Scholar-in-Residence

Wednesday, July 11, 7:30 p.m., VAC 119
Farah MendlesohnFarah Mendlesohn is a former Reader in Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature at Middlesex University, and former Professor of Literary History at Anglia Ruskin University. She is the author of Diana Wynne Jones: Children’s Literature and the Fantastic Tradition, The Inter-Galactic Playground: A Critical Study of Children’s and Teens’ Science Fiction, Children’s Fantasy Literature: An Introduction with Michael Levy and Rhetorics of Fantasy, which won the British Science Fiction Association Award for Nonfiction. Her current research interest is children’s historical fiction. She will be on campus for one week and will give a public lecture and meet individually with students for consultation on scholarly manuscripts.

Visiting Illustrator

Friday, July 13, 7:30 p.m., VAC 119
Shadra StricklandShadra Strickland studied, design, writing, and illustration at Syracuse University and later went on to complete her M.F.A. at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. She won the Ezra Jack Keats Award and the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent in 2009 for her work in her first picturebook, Bird, written by Zetta Elliott. Strickland co-illustrated Our Children Can Soar, winner of a 2010 NAACP Image Award. Sunday Shopping, published with Lee and Low Books, was a Junior Library Guild Selection. Her newest book is Loving vs. Virginia, written by Patricia Hruby Powell, and she has also illustrated for Pulitzer Prize winning author Toni Morrison. She will give a public lecture and conduct a studio workshop for students.

Francelia Butler Conference Keynote Speaker

Saturday, July 21, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., VAC

Photo of Uma KrishnaswamiUma Krishnaswami has been writing and publishing books, poems, and short stories for young readers since the last century. Her story collection, The Broken Tusk, has been in print continuously for twenty years. Her historical middle grade novel, Step Up to the Plate, Maria Singh, is a South Asia Award Honor Book and a Junior Library Guild pick. Her chapter book, Book Uncle and Me, is on the USBBY Outstanding International Books list. Uma teaches Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts. She lives in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

Lecture series

Writer-in-residence Kathryn Erskine, Monday, June 25, 7:30 p.m., VAC Auditorium

Veronica Chambers, Wednesday, June 27, 7:30 p.m., VAC Auditorium
Veronica ChambersVeronica Chambers is best known for her critically acclaimed memoir, Mama’s Girl which The New Yorker called “a troubling testament to grit and mother love… one of the finest and most evenhanded in the genre in recent years.” Born in Panama and raised in Brooklyn, her work often reflects her Afro-Latina heritage. She coauthored chef Marcus Samuelsson’s young adult memoir Make It Messy, and has written more than a dozen books for young people, including Celia Cruz Queen of Salsa, Amistad Rising, Double Dutch, Marisol and Magdalena, and the Amigas series, as well as adult fiction and nonfiction. She has been a senior editor at the New York Times Magazine, Newsweek, and Glamour, and is currently a JSK Knight fellow at Stanford University.

Editor Kathleen Merz, Monday, July 9, 7:30 p.m., VAC 119
Kathleen MerzKathleen Merz is Acquisitions and Managing Editor for Eerdmans Books for Young Readers. She will conduct a workshop for students the following day.



Scholar-in-residence Farah Mendlesohn
, Wednesday, July 11, 7:30 p.m., VAC 119

Visiting Illustrator Shadra Strickland, Friday, July 13, 7:30 p.m., VAC 119

Guadalupe Garcia McCall, Wednesday, July 18, 7:30 p.m., VAC Auditorium
Photo of Guadalupe Garcia McCallGuadalupe Garcia McCall is the author of Under the Mesquite, which received the Pura Belpre Author Award, and was included in Kirkus Review’s Best Teen Books of 2011. Her second novel, Summer of the Mariposas, won a Westchester Young Adult Fiction award, was a finalist for the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy, and was included in the 2012 School Library Journal’s Best Books of the Year. McCall was born in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico. She immigrated with her family to the United States when she was six years old and grew up in Eagle Pass, Texas, the setting of both her novels. She teaches high school English in San Antonio.

Art Director Nicole de las Heras, Friday, July 27, 9:00 a.m., VAC 119
Photo of de las Heras
Nicole de las Heras is an art director at Random House Children’s Books, where she oversees board books, picture books, leveled readers, and early chapter books. Over the course of her career, she has designed and art directed books that include New York Times bestsellers, and her work has been recognized at the New York Book Show. Some of the many books she has worked on are The Wonderful Things You Will Be and Snow & Rose by Emily Winfield Martin; The Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library and Welcome to Wonderland series by Chris Grabenstein; the Hello World original board book series by Jill McDonald; Littles and How They Grow, written by Kelly DiPucchio and illustrated by AG Ford; My Journey to the Stars, written by Scott Kelly and illustrated by André Ceolin; Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag, written by Rob Sanders and illustrated by Steven Salerno; and A Castle Full of Cats by Ruth Sanderson. 

Recent Summer guests

David Almond, writer-in-residence
Tom Angleberger, visiting writer
Kathi Appelt, writer-in-residence
Cece Bell, visiting writer
Jennifer Brody, visiting writer
Andrea Brown, literary agent
Katharine Capshaw, scholar-in-residence
Dhonielle Clayton, COO of We Need Diverse Books and co-founder Cake Literary
Frances Gilbert, associate publishing director, Random House Books for Young Readers
Marah Gubar, Francelia Butler Conference keynote speaker
Kenneth Kidd, Francelia Butler Conference keynote speaker
Brian Lies, visiting illustrator
Laurent Linn, art director, Simon & Schuster
Mallory Loehr, vice president and publishing director, Random House
Han Nolan, writer-in-residence
Anna Olswanger, literary agent
John Rocco, visiting illustrator
Eric Rohmann, visiting illustrator
Judy Schachner, visiting illustrator
Eric Smith, literary agent Ali Standish, visiting writer
Maggie Stiefvater, visiting writer
Roberta Seelinger Trites, scholar-in-residence
Charles Vess, visiting illustrator
Nancy Willard, writer-in-residence
Jack Zipes, Francelia Butler Conference keynote speaker