Speakers/Presenters

Keynote Speakers

Ebony Elizabeth Thomas is Associate Professor in the Literacy, Culture, and International Educational Division at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. A former Detroit Public Schools teacher and National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow, she was a member of the NCTE Cultivating New Voices Among Scholars of Color’s 2008-2010 cohort, served on the NCTE Conference on English Education's Executive Committee from 2013 until 2017, and is the immediate past chair of the NCTE Standing Committee on Research. Currently, she serves as co-editor of Research of the Teaching of English, and her most recent book is The Dark Fantastic: Race and the Imagination from Harry Potter to the Hunger Games (NYU Press, 2019). She tweets @Ebonyteach.

Melanie Ramdarshan Bold is a Senior Lecturer/Associate Professor at University College London, where she teaches and researches topics related to Publishing/Book Cultures. Her main research interest centres on contemporary authorship, publishing, and reading, with a focus on children's and YA books. Melanie's book Inclusive Young Adult Fiction: Authors of Colour in the United Kingdom, was published by Palgrave in early 2019. Cambridge University Press will publish her next book Book Trade Activism and Anthologies: Advocating for Change in the British YA Market in late 2019/early 2020. Dr. Ramdarshan Bold is also I'm on the Advisory Boards for the CLPE Reflecting Realities project, the CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Children’s Book Awards, and the Pop-Up Pathways project. She tweets @ILoveCopyright.

Darren Chetty is a Teaching Fellow at University College London. He is the co-author of What is Masculinity? Why Does it Matter? And Other Big Questions (with Jeffrey Boakye, Wayland 2019) and How To Disagree (with Adam Ferner, Quarto, 2019),and co-editor (with Judith Suissa) of Critical Philosophy of Race and Education (Taylor and Francis, 2019). He won the 2014 Award for Excellence by the International Council for Philosophical Inquiry with Children (ICPIC) for his paper ‘The Elephant in the Room: Picturebooks, Philosophy for Children and Racism.’ His essay ‘You Can’t Say That! Stories Have to be About White People’ was included in the The Good Immigrant (2016), edited by Nikesh Shukla. Darren co-writes, with Karen Sands-O’Connor, Beyond the Secret Garden, a regular column on children’s literature for Books for Keeps. He has worked as a judge for the YA Book Prize, The Little Rebels Award, The Blue Peter Book Award and an advisor for the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Children’s Book Awards. He is a member of the Steering Committee for Reflecting Realities, a project run by the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE) examining ethnic representation in children’s fiction in the UK. Darren tweets @rapclassroom.

Farrah Serroukh - Learning Programme Leader at the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE), Throughout her career, Farrah has always worked hard to centre marginalised voices and keenly advocated for inclusive practices both within and outside of the education sector. An experienced teacher and senior leader, Farrah taught across all phases before moving into senior management where she led on Literacy, EAL, Ethnic Minority Achievement and Inclusion. Farrah has an MA in Bilingualism in Education and coordinates CLPE’s partnership and regional work. She co-leads on the research and development strand of CLPE’s work and is responsible for leading on and authoring CLPE’s Reflecting Realities Study. This is an Arts Council funded research project and is the first study of its kind in the history of UK publishing. The aim of the study is to quantify and evaluate the extent and quality of ethnic representation and diversity in children’s publishing in the UK. The Survey seeks to offer a benchmark and an ongoing quantifiable measure to allow all stakeholders to gauge advances made in this area and to keep the importance of inclusion and better representation at the forefront of the collective consciousness. She tweets @storyriver.

Plenary Panels

Dean Atta's poems deal with themes of race, gender, identity and growing up, and have appeared on BBC One, BBC Radio 4, BBC World Service and Channel 4. Dean was named as one of the most influential LGBT people in the UK by the Independent on Sunday. He was shortlisted for the Polari First Book Prize for his debut poetry collection, I Am Nobody’s Nigger. He regularly performs across the UK and internationally. Dean is a member of Keats House Poets Forum and Malika’s Poetry Kitchen. He Has a Philosophy and English BA from the University of Sussex and a Writer/Teacher MA from Goldsmiths, University of London. Dean is a Tutor for Poetry School and a Writer in Residence for First Story. He tweets @DeanAtta.

Parinita Shetty is a writer and enthusiast of children's books. She has worked with young people and books in India in various ways - as a bookseller and editor in a children’s bookshop, a reading programme developer, and a coordinator of a children’s literature festival. Her books include The Monster Hunters, When Santa Went Missing, The A-Z Djinn Detective Agency, The Pig With The Runaway Tail, and The Starlight Adventure. She completed her M.Ed in Children’s Literature and Literacies from the University of Glasgow in 2017. She is currently a first-year PhD candidate at the University of Leeds studying intersectionality and critical literacy in the online fan communities of Harry Potter and Doctor Who. She should currently be writing but is probably watching Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Panel Presenters

 
We Need Diverse Names in YA Fiction
Ikram Belaid, University College London
 
Speculative Worlds of Color
Jewel Davis, Appalachian State University
 
A (Fictional) History of Dyslexia: Creating Inclusive Literature with Narrative Prosthesis in                                                         Margarita Engle and Caroline Starr Rose’s Historical Fiction for Children
Elizabeth Leung, University of British Columbia
 
The Visualization of the Chinese Youth Literature in the 21st Century
Shushu Li, University of Glasgow
 
Unbalancing Crip Tropes in Speculative Texts – Legend of Korra, The Dragon Prince, and the Social Model of Disability

Kit Kavanagh-Ryan, Deakin University

Country, ecofeminism, and more-than-human identity in Ambelin Kwaymullina’s The Tribe sequence
Nicole Kennedy, University of Newcastle, Australia
 
Being Aromantic and the Romance Plot in Young-Adult Fiction
Patricia Kennon, Maynooth University, Ireland
 
Comme un million de papillons noirs by Laura Nsafou: Or the Role of Social Networks in the Emergence of a Discussion about Inclusive Children’s and Youth Literature in France
Élodie Mandala, Independent Scholar
 
Young Readers' Responses to the Representation of Disability in El Deafo
Anna Purkiss, University of Cambridge 
 
New British Histories: The Institute of Race Relations and Anti-Racist Children's History Books
Karen Sands-O'Connor, SUNY Buffalo State College
 
Inclusion and Diversity in Online Fan Communities
Parinita Shetty, University of Leeds 
 
Resisting the Obviousness of Straightness: Family Model Variation in Picturebooks
Rachel Skrlac Lo, Villanova University 
 
The Case of the Stolen Treasure: The Museum in Contemporary British Children’s Books
Aishwarya Subramanian, Independent Scholar
 
From Margin to Center: Moving from Afrofuturism to a Womanist Imagination
Stephanie Toliver, The University of Georgia
 
A Small Step for a Small Person? Scripts of Migration and “Rehoming” in Contemporary Dutch-Language Picture Books
Sara Van Den Bossche, Tilburg University
 
"Rise Up": #Hamilkids, Children's Rights, and the Politics of Empathy
Karin Westman, Kansas State University