The most important people at Kindling Words are you–the attendees. We choose speakers each year to inspire and challenge you. We like to invite professionals who have experience teaching at a mastery level, and often choose people who have been to Kindling Words before, as they understand the unique atmosphere. We welcome recommendations from our attendees, and discourage self-solicitation.
Alvina Ling Editor
Alvina Ling is VP and Editor-in- Chief at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers where she’s worked since 1999. She edits children’s books for all ages, from picture books to young adult, and has worked with such authors and illustrators as Peter Brown, Bryan Collier, Ed Young, Grace Lin, Wendy Mass, Jerry Spinelli, Jewell Parker Rhodes, Chris Colfer, Laini Taylor, Libba Bray, Barry Lyga, Holly Black, Matthew Quick, and Sherman Alexie. She is the co-founder and former chair of the CBC Diversity Committee. She is on Twitter as @planetalvina, on Instagram @alvinaling, and lives in Brooklyn with her cat Venus.
Matthew Cordell Illustrator
Cynthia Leitich Smith Author
Cynthia Leitich Smith is the New York Times and Publishers Weekly bestselling, award-winning YA author of the Tantalize series, the Feral trilogy, and several acclaimed children’s books. She was named a Writer of the Year by Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers in recognition of Rain Is Not My Indian Name. Cynthia is on the faculty of the VCFA MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults. She also serves on the advisory board of We Need Diverse Books. The Austin chapter of SCBWI has instituted the Cynthia Leitich Smith Mentor Award in her honor.
Julie Berry Author
Julie Berry grew up in western New York. She holds a BS from Rensselaer in communication and an MFA from Vermont College in writing for children and young adults. Her first YA novel All the Truth That’s In Me was named a Horn Book Fanfare title, a School Library Journal Best Book of 2013, a Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Book of 2013, and a Junior Library Guild selection. It was shortlisted for Carnegie Medal, was named a YALSA BFYA Top Ten Title, and it won Australia’s Silver Inky Award. Her middle grade, The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place, won an Odyssey Honor and was named one of Wall Street Journal’s best children’s books of 2014. Her latest YA, The Passion of Dolssa, has earned five starred reviews, been nominated for a YALSA BFYA award, and is a Junior Library Guild selection. Her forthcoming middle grade from Roaring Brook is The Emperor’s Ostrich. She’s the author of six other critically acclaimed titles as well. She now divides her time between eastern Massachusetts and southern California with her husband and four sons. Find her online atwww.julieberrybooks.com, or on Twitter at @julieberrybooks.