Whitney Taylor is a YA writer that only speaks one language—fangirl. When she’s not obsessing over fictional characters, she spends her time taking selfies, going on adventures with her husband, and eating way too much Texas barbecue. She resides in Dallas, where she works as an Executive Coordinator slash Professional Daydreamer. Her friends call her The Queen and she has a monogrammed robe to prove it. Bow down. Her debut novel, Definitions of Indefinable Things, was published in April 2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers.
RuthAnne Snow was born and raised in Kaysville, Utah. She was a sorority girl in college and social activities director in law school—which was a lot like being back in the sorority. She has interned for the U.S. Senate, worked on policy papers for Congress and the State Department, and once spent a year sorting through emails looking for fraud. It wasn’t nearly as fun as writing fiction. She loves travel, dogs, horror movies, and baking. Her debut Contemporary YA, When the Truth Unravels, will be published by Sky Pony Press in January 2019.
Crystal Smalls Ord’s art and stories have appeared in multiple issues of the macabre children’s lit magazine, Underneath the Juniper Tree. She has created several illustrations for Anchor Group Publishing and her art can been seen in hitRECord.com’s musical short, Madamoiselle Noir. In her free time Crystal initiates dance parties and tickle fights with her kids, cleans house, plays ukulele, and lingers in the geekery corner of Pinterest.
Drew Shannon was born in London, Ontario, but moved to Toronto after graduating from Sheridan's Illustration program in 2011. Some of his clients include the Globe and Mail, Washington Post, Reader's Digest, NPR, Unicef, and more. His illustrations can be found in Extreme Battlefields (Annick Press, 2016), Out of the Ice (Kids Can Press, September 2018), and The Montague Twins (Knopf BFYR, Fall 2019).
Nathan Page was born in Kingston, Ontario, where he began writing and acting at an early age. He moved to Toronto in 2010 and now, in addition to writing The Montague Twins (Knopf BFYR, Fall 2019), he is a therapist for children who have autism.
Nina Nesseth is a professional science communicator whose background is rooted in biomedical sciences and science communication, with special interest in human biology. She is a staff scientist at Science North in Sudbury, Ontario. Nina's debut, The Science of Orphan Black: The Official Companion, co-written with Casey Griffin, was published by ECW Press in August 2017.
Yao Xiao is a China-born illustrator based in New York City. Yao Xiao creates artwork depicting a poetic visual world where complex concepts and human emotions are examined, amplified, and given physical form. Her work has helped people all over the globe connect at unique moments, from the celebration of the 20 Year Anniversary of the SXSW Interactive Festival, to the grand release of pop singer Katy Perry’s single ‘Dark Horse.’ She has created deeply emotional and beautiful graphics for editorial print publications, pop music record covers, concert posters and book covers.
Megan Orsinihas always wanted to run away with the circus and has been hugged by scores of homeless men. She has an affinity for street performers and the quirky, magical worlds they inhabit. Megan received her MFA from Fairleigh Dickinson University and lives in a suburb of Northern Virginia where there are no street performers and too many politicians.
Austin Gilkeson writes about all sorts of things, but the things he loves the most are the ones that go bump in the night. After getting his MA in English literature from the University of Chicago, he spent two years teaching elementary and junior high school English on a remote Japanese island. His writing has appeared at The Toast, and his work for children has been published in the children’s literary magazines Underneath the Juniper Tree and Spellbound, and on the YA podcast Cast of Wonders. He lives with his wife and son in Chicago.
Amelia Quint is a columnist and essayist living in her native South Carolina. She received her Bachelor of Arts in English Language and Literature from the University of South Carolina. She has a special interest in ancient divination systems as they relate to modern society, especially those of the classical era. In her own words, her goal is to “bring the occult arts into the present day without sacrificing their original rigor or integrity.” She founded The Midheaven, an online astrology platform, in 2013. Since then, her work has been featured in such publications as Glamour,Nylon, the Vice channels, Hazlitt (forthcoming), and many others. You can read her regular astrology columns in Coveteur, Rookie Magazine, and MyDomaine.
Gennelle Smith is a writer based in Toronto. After receiving her MA in Film & Literature from the University of York (UK), she worked in film production and spent a lot of time daydreaming on film sets. She currently works on the digital side of children’s television and, when not exploring new places or inventing oddball characters, loves discovering new animated films, historical lit, and live comedy.
Unable to face a day job or growing up, Mya Smith took to writing books. She has an incorrigible affection for bloody fairy tales, climbing up inadvisable objects, & breathing fire. One day, she hopes to walk away from an explosion, preferably with sunglasses on. Mya is a bicoastal entity living in Portland, Oregon, and is working on a way to split herself into three identical beings with the ability to mindmeld from many states away. It’s a process.
Caitlin Rantala lives in Nashville, TN but she writes YA books not songs. She also became part of Taylor Swift’s squad at the 1989 Secret Sessions. Ask her about it if you dare (and if you have, like, three hours to spare). When Caitlin is not writing books or being Tay-Tay’s BFF, she’s working on graphic design projects or planning out her next great cosplay outfit. Caitlin’s New Adult debut, Industry Darling, is available now.
Cat Min (Catherine Min) is an illustrator, animator, & writer based in New Jersey, USA. She is also a member of SCBWI and can be found in Women Who Draw. She studied animation/film at New York University, Tisch School of the Arts and completed the Illustration & Visual Storytelling Summer Residency Program at the School of Visual Arts in New York. Cat's work consists of children's book illustrations, animated videos/gifs, comics, and doodles. Her illustrations were recently featured in the 4th issue of The Protagonist Magazine and included in SCBWI’s Narrative Art Award 2017 gallery. She loves to doodle everything on anything.
Meg Smitherman is an artist, podcaster, and novelist turned avid hockey enthusiast. She co-hosts the comedy hockey podcast Shut Yer Five Hole, writes about hockey for GuysGirl.com, and is often touted by strangers on Twitter as “the reason I got into hockey.”
Alex Nursall is a writer and illustrator based out of Toronto (and occasionally Liverpool). Her work focuses mainly on makeup history and drawing dumb pictures of hockey players, two things that totally have nothing to do with each other. She’s had her work published on a number of sites, including The Toast, Jezebel, Deadspin, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, TSN/BarDown, Travel+Escape, and more. In her spare time, she likes to read about soccer, try new makeup techniques, and drink fancy beer. She looks like a cross between mid-90s Winona Ryder and mid-90s Winona Ryder’s less attractive cousin.
Andrea Towers is a writer based in New York. She has worked in the entertainment industry for almost ten years, including her current role as Sales and Communications Administrator at Marvel. Her work has been published in Entertainment Weekly,Paste Magazine, Mashable, Bustle, Brit & Co., CVLUX, Variety, and more.
Jael Richardson is the author of The Stone Thrower: A Daughter’s Lesson, a Father’s Life, a memoir based on her relationship with her father, CFL quarterback Chuck Ealey. The memoir received a CBC Bookie Award and earned Richardson an Acclaim Award and a My People Award as an Emerging Artist and was adapted into a children’s book in 2016. She is also the Founder and Artistic Director of the Festival of Literary Diversity. Jael's essay “Conception” is part of Room Magazine’s first Women of Colour edition, and excerpts from her first play, my upside down black face, are published in the anthology T-Dot Griots: An Anthology of Toronto’s Black Storytellers.
Caitlin Rose Boyle is a cartoonist, working in comics and animation. She makes work that oscillates between manic, exuberant energy, & quiet reflection. She is the co-creator and illustrator on Boom! Box's comic Jonesy, and co-created the 2014 Nickelodeon Short Toon Buck n' Lou and the Night Crew. Caitlin holds a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Art. She was awarded the 2017 Emerging Artist Nemo Award by the Toonseum in Pittsburgh, PA. Born in New Jersey, she grew up in rural Southern Maryland before spending 9 years living & drawing in Pittsburgh, PA. She currently lives in Los Angeles, California.