Jason Reynolds

Jason Reynolds is a critically acclaimed writer and poet and the winner of more than 25 US and International Awards, including the 2018 Edgar Award, LA Times Book Prize, Newbery Honor, Printz Honor and twice winner of the Walter Dean Myers Award.

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Elle McNicoll

Elle is a Scottish and Neurodivergent writer, happily living in London. She graduated with a f

Elle is a Scottish and Neurodivergent writer. After completing her Masters dissertation on the lack of Own Voices representation for Neurodivergent children, she grew tired of the lack of inclusivity in the industry, and wrote a book herself.

Her first children’s novel, A Kind of Spark, was published in June 2020 and stars two openly autistic young women. After publication A Kind Of Spark swiftly became both The Times and The Sunday Times’ Children’s Book of the Week and was recently announced as the Blackwell’s Children’s Book of the Year.

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Sharna Jackson

Sharna Jackson is a curator, writer and project director, she Jhas worked with BAFTA, Tate Kids, The Design Museum, The Royal Collection Trust and Wonderbly and is the author of Waterstones Prize winning High Rise Mystery.

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Gabrielle Kent

Gabrielle grew up in the 1980’s riding her bike into trouble, drawing castles and dragons, reading comics, and playing games on her best friend’s Atari

Recently, her experience of childhood in the eighties came together with her love of writing and videogames when she was asked to write a series of novels based on the characters and world from the game, Knights and Bikes.

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Samantha Baines

Samantha Baines is an award-winning comedian and actress trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama. Samantha’s acting credits include The Crown, Silent Witness, Call the Midwife and several BBC Comedies. Samantha is also an ambassador for the British Tinnitus Association and Action on Hearing Loss.

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Burhana Islam

Born in Bangladesh, raised in Newcastle and currently residing in the outskirts of Manchester, Burhana Islam is a storyteller who is passionate about exploring themes of heritage, belonging, identity and faith in her work. She studied English Literature at Newcastle University before deciding to become a secondary school teacher, sharing her love for stories with a new generation of curious, young minds. MAYHEM MISSION is her debut children's fiction book, and she is also the author of AMAZING MUSLIM'S WHO CHANGED THE WORLD (Puffin, 2020).

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Candice Carty-Williams

Candice Carty-Williams is a writer and author of the Sunday Times bestselling QueenieQueenie has been described as 'vital','disarmingly honest', and 'boldly political', and has been shortlisted for the Waterstones, Foyles and Goodreads Book of 2019, as well as selected as the Blackwell’s Debut of the Year. In 2016, Candice created and launched the Guardian and 4th Estate BAME Short Story Prize, the first inclusive initiative of its kind in book publishing. Candice has written for Guardian, i-D, Vogue International, every iteration of the Sunday Times, BEAT Magazine, Black Ballad and more. She will probably always live in South London.

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Kelly Yang

Kelly Yang’s family immigrated from China when she was a young girl, and she grew up in California, in circumstances very similar to those of Mia Tang – helping her parents manage several motels. Her only sanctuary was the library, where she could immerse herself in the world of a book, and where the librarians would encourage her. They saw potential in her, made her feel smart and valued, and she credits them with the success she went on to achieve – attending university at the age of thirteen, and graduating from UC Berkeley, and then Harvard Law School as one of the youngest ever female graduates.

Upon graduation, Kelly gave up law to pursue her dream of writing and teaching kids to write. She is the founder of The Kelly Yang Project, a leading writing and debating programme for children in Asia and the United States. She is also a columnist for the South China Morning Post and has been published in the New York Times, the Washington Post and The Atlantic. Kelly is the mother of three children and splits her time between Hong Kong and San Francisco.

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Mark Maciver

Mark Maciver, aka SliderCuts, has been cutting hair professionally for over fifteen years. During that time, he has nurtured a superlative client list, which runs the gamut from basketball player Lebron James to world heavyweight champion boxer Anthony Joshua. His razor-sharp skills makes him an expert figure in his field, and his vast knowledge and business acumen has made him a trusted figure within the wider community. As a result, Mark was recently recognised for his position as one of the UK’s top Black business individuals following his win at the acclaimed Black British Business Awards.

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