Alice Burden Consultant

Catherine Bell Scholastic


Catherine is the co-group managing director of Scholastic UK, where the broad mix of children’s publishing, education,

English-language training, book clubs and book fairs keeps her busy. Before Scholastic, she worked at DK, Ladybird and Puffin in marketing and sales roles.

Alice has worked in children’s television and publishing for more than 20 years. With an MA in Children’s Literature, Alice worked for companies including ITV, Macmillan Children’s Books and Walker Books before setting up her own creative development company.

Caroline Carpenter The Bookseller

Caroline is web editor at The Bookseller and chair of the YA Book Prize. She has worked at The Bookseller since 2013, following publishing internships and a stint at the Voice newspaper. Caroline has a keen interest in children’s and YA publishing, and is also the author of Guide to the Hunger Games.

Jo Clarke Librarian & blogger

Jo is a primary school librarian based in Hampshire. She is passionate about promot- ing reading for pleasure and finding the right book for each child. An avid reader of children’s books, she shares her recommendations on her award-winning blog BookLoverJo. She also writes for children.

Jill Coleman BookTrust

Jill Coleman is director of children’s books at BookTrust. She is respon- sible for BookTrust’s selec- tion and recommendation of great books, managing book purchasing across the organisation, and working with arts organisations, publishers, authors and illustrators to promote excellence in children’s books.

Beth Cox Inclusive Minds

Beth is an editor, inclu- sion consultant and a co-founder of Inclusive Minds, an organisation supporting the children’s book world in creating authentically inclusive books. Following a brief stint as a primary school teacher, Beth has worked in children’s books for more than 15 years.

Kirsten Cozens Walker

Kirsten joined Walker in 2016. She has worked on children’s book campaigns for the likes of Malamander by Thomas Taylor, I Will Not Be Erased by gal-dem, and Julian is a Mermaid by Jessica Love, for which she won the Children’s Book Award at the 2019 Publishers’ Publicity Circle Annual Awards.

Annie Crombie BookTrust

Annie is BookTrust’s director of programmes and partnerships. She is responsible for design- ing and improving our programmes, for our partnerships with local government, and for our research and impact work. Prior to joining BookTrust, Annie was chief executive officer of the Consortium of Voluntary Adoption Agencies UK.

Ben Drury Yoto

Ben began work on found- ing Yoto in 2014 with Filip Denker. Yoto aims to be the “Spotify for Kids” with its own hardware smart speaker giving kids access to a safe and curated platform of audio content with music, stories, radio and podcasts—all accessed without screens and with kids in control.

Loraine Evans Cheltenham Festival

Loraine started her career at Walker Books. After 18 years she left London to freelance as a children’s publishing consultant and joined Cheltenham Festival’s literature programming team in 2016. She programmes its family, schools and free children’s events, as well as supporting the education team on year-round projects.

Megan Farr Firefly/Graffeg

Megan has years of experience working in a variety of PR, marketing and project manager roles, both in publishing and for literature charities. Since 2017, she has worked for Welsh indies Firefly and Graffeg, and has previously worked for New Welsh Review, Literature Wales, BookTrust, Bonnier, Macmillan, Little Tiger Press and Barefoot Books.

On the day

Helen Freeman Oxford University Press

Helen Freeman is director of Oxford Children’s Books, home of Pippi Longstocking in the UK since 1954. Before joining OUP, Helen was vice-president of Global Product Development at Capstone, for children’s trade, library and classroom publishing globally.

Candy Gourlay Author

Candy was born in the Philippines, grew up under a dictatorship and met her husband during a revolution. Her latest novel Bone Talk (David Fickling Books) was shortlisted for the Costa and Carnegie. Last year, she published her first picture book, Is it a Mermaid? (Otter-Barry Books), illustrated by Francesca Chessa.

Kirsten Grant World Book Day

Kirsten is an award- winning marketer, and she has been director of World Book Day since 2011. She is responsible for the strategic direction and delivery of the campaign dedicated to celebrat- ing the transformative benefits of reading for pleasure, the magic of books and the power of imagination.

Samantha Halstead Penguin Random House Audio

As editorial director, Sam Halstead oversees a team working on the entire audio catalogue across eight publishing houses. Recent highlights include Michael Sheen’s narration of The Book of Dust, an immersive adaptation of Robert MacFarlane’s The Lost Words, and the launch of Ladybird original audio list.

Holly Harris Penguin Random House Children’s

Holly Harris has worked in non-fiction publishing since 2012. Editorial and media development director at PRHC, authors include Scarlett Curtis and Zoe Sugg.

Please note that, while every attempt has been made to ensure that the list of speakers is complete and final, changes to the line- up may occur before the conference on 23rd September. Delegates will be informed about such changes and an up-to-date list of speakers can be found at


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